Brock Hale rounds first base after a solo home run against UC Santa Barbara on Thursday. The Cougars lost 10-8. (Photo by Nate Edwards/BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah – A high-scoring home opener resulted in a 10-8 loss for BYU baseball against UC Santa Barbara on Thursday night at Miller Park.
"We need to win games," BYU head coach Mike Littlewood said. "It's getting old saying that we're close and competitive. We need better pitching performances out of the pen. We need to be able to rely on guys to come out of the pen and compete."
BYU’s first run came off a leadoff home run in the bottom of the second inning from Brock Hale, whose solo shot extended his hitting streak to 12 games. After two runs from UCSB in the top half, the Cougars trailed 2-1.
The Gauchos extended their lead to 3-1 in the top of the third after a pair of errors and a fielder’s choice. BYU responded in the bottom half when Daniel Schneemann’s two-out double plated Kyle Dean and cut the deficit to 3-2.
The Cougars tied it up an inning later, when Hale’s double to right-center was followed up with a run-scoring single the same way from Keaton Kringlen.
BYU starter Maverik Buffo showed some resilience in the top of the fifth inning after giving up a leadoff double. He punched out one Gaucho and forced two flyouts to leave the inning unscathed and the score tied at 3-3.
The Cougars took their only lead in the bottom of the fifth when Tanner Chauncey’s fielder’s choice scored Nate Favero from third base.
UCSB struck for three runs in the sixth inning when Buffo started the frame by giving up two singles and hitting a batter. His replacement, lefty Rhett Parkinson, was victim of a throwing error and a sacrifice fly that put the Gauchos up 6-4.
In the top of the seventh inning, UCSB extended its lead as Mason Marshall, relieving Parkinson, walked a batter to load the bases and gave up a two-run single. The Gauchos led 8-4 as a double play ended the frame.
In the bottom half, Favero and Brennon Anderson led off with a walk and a double. After a flyout from Schneemann, Chauncey singled to bring in Favero, and a wild pitch plated Anderson to cut the lead to 8-6. Kringlen made it 8-7 with a single that scored Chauncey, before UCSB reliever Shea Barry induced a pop-up and a flyout to stop the bleeding.
Riley Gates was chased for BYU after allowing four hits and two runs in the eighth inning as the Gauchos led 10-7. Bo Burrup came in and got some help from Favero, who snared a line drive above third base and stepped on his bag to double-up a UCSB runner.
A single from Kringlen sandwiched by a pair of walks put Larsen at the plate with one out in the bottom of the ninth. He took a walk from Alex Garcia to put the Cougars down 10-8. Dean popped up to the first baseman and Favero flew out to right field to end the game.
Buffo (1-3) took the loss for the Cougars as Gaucho hurler Noah Davis picked up the win (3-1). Buffo went 5.1 innings, allowing nine hits and four earned runs with six strikeouts. The BYU bullpen gave up four earned runs over 3.2 innings.
The Cougars play a doubleheader against the Gauchos tomorrow, with start times at 2 p.m. (seven innings) and 5:30 p.m. MST.