Kolton Mahoney got his third victory of the season, striking out six in a 4-3 win as Saint Mary's suffered its first league loss. (Photo by BYU Photo/Mark Philbrick)
MORAGA, Calif. — Kolton Mahoney and Brandon Kinser combined for a 4-3 victory Friday over Saint Mary’s before the Gaels rebounded for a 6-1 win in the nightcap.
Mahoney picked up his third victory of the year and Kinser got his second save of the season, handing Saint Mary’s its first loss in West Coast Conference play. The Gaels (13-13 overall and 5-1 in the WCC) bounced back on the arm of Cameron Neff to win the three-game series over BYU (10-19, 2-7).
“It’s frustrating, but I am proud of the way we came out and played today,” BYU coach Mike Littlewood said. “We made adjustments at the plate and were much-improved, but Neff was lights out and didn’t give us many pitches to hit.”
Game two of the doubleheader was a pitcher’s duel turned awry for the Cougars in the seventh inning, as Jeff Barker had matched pitches with Neff.
The Gaels broke the stalemate, taking a 1-0 lead in the sixth. Barker ended that inning by wheeling and picking off Anthony Villa diving back into second base.
BYU got its only run in the seventh when CJ Latham singled, moving Brock Whitney to third base. Whitney scored on Kelton Caldwell’s sacrifice fly to tie the game, 1-1. That put an end to 32 innings by Neff of not allowing an earned run.
The Gaels put the game away in the seventh thanks to a passed ball, a wild pitch and a close call at the plate that opened the door leading to four runs.
While the loss leaves a bad taste for the Cougars, they had to be happy with the come-from-behind victory earlier in the day.
BYU took a 1-0 lead in the third inning of game one when Parker Starr advanced to third on an error and scored on Brennon Lund’s bunt single.
Saint Mary’s countered with a pair of unearned runs in the fourth to go up 2-1. The Gaels added a run in the fifth, but catcher Jarrett Jarvis threw to Mahoney, putting out a runner at home to end the inning.
Jarvis hit a one-out double in the seventh to advance Whitney to third and he scored on Caldwell’s sac-fly, narrowing the gap to 3-2.
The next inning Whitney belted a two-run, two-out double to give BYU its 4-3 lead.
“I can’t say enough good about Brock,” Littlewood said. “When we win he literally is carrying us.”
The Saint Mary’s series concludes multiple road trips as the Cougars host four games next week against Utah Valley on Tuesday and a three-game series with Pacific starting Thursday.
“When you are on the road you have to fight through stuff,” Littlewood said. “I don’t like the loss, but I loved the effort. Until we are mathematically out of it, we will keep fighting.”