Pair of homers and Mahoney power past Pacific, 9-3

Brock Whitney drove several pitches against Pacific, including a 2-run homer in a 9-3 victory on Friday. (Photo by BYU Photo/Todd Wakefield)

PROVO, Utah – An all-around team effort with efficient hitting and strong pitching led BYU baseball to a 9-3 victory over Pacific in the second game of the West Coast Conference series, Friday at Larry H. Miller Field.

With the win the Cougars (12-20, 4-7 WCC) moved up into sixth place in the conference standings with the Tigers (13-19, 4-7 WCC), but have the tiebreaker advantage in the series.

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"I loved our approach at the plate," BYU head coach Mike Littlewood said. "We're really starting to be stingy about what we want to swing at and what we don't. It was just timely hitting and good baserunning. It was just overall a good, solid game for us."

Leading BYU in hitting was third baseman Dillon Robinson who went 4-for-4 with three RBI. Cougar first baseman Brock Whitney also added three RBI going two of four, including a homerun while catcher Jarrett Jarvis added a double in his 3-for-4 night at the plate.

Sophomore Kolton Mahoney (4-4) was the winning pitcher as he struck out eight and allowed three runs off nine hits with no walks in his eight innings.

"What I really liked tonight on the offensive side is we had four walks and three strikeouts--that's nice to see," Littlewood said. "And on the pitching side, we didn't walk a guy."

A pair of doubles from Pacific’s Tyler Sullivan and Gio Brusa put Pacific up 1-0 in the top of the first, but not for long.

The Cougars unloaded on the Tigers in the first inning with four runs on five hits. Punching a line-drive over the center field fence, Whitney earned his first homerun of the season for three RBI. Jarvis singled for an RBI of his own, stretching the lead to 4-1 over Pacific.

With two outs in the second, CJ Latham laced one over the center fielder’s head, reaching third on a double and an error.  Robinson singled for the second time, earning his first RBI of the game.

"In the first inning Brock hit that homerun and that got the momentum going," Robinson said. "We were trying to win every inning. Now that I'm back, the ball looks like a beach ball."

In the bottom of the fourth, freshman Latham blasted a 400-yard solo shot to center field, his first homerun of his career and the only run for the Cougars in the fourth.

Mahoney was strong for the Cougars. At the end of five innings he had five strikeouts and held the Tigers to just one run. He faced only four batters each from the fourth inning through the seventh. 

Brennon Lund drew the walk to lead off the sixth and quickly stole second. Robinson singled for another RBI, pushing the BYU lead to 7-1.

The Cougars held the Tigers to just one run until the eighth. Pacific scored two runs on two hits with a leadoff triple.

After walking to lead the eighth, Lund scored on two hits to bring the Cougars up 8-3. Whitney singled to up the middle and stole second on the next pitch.  Kelton Caldwell singled to score Whitney for the ninth Cougar run.

This is the first time in a month BYU has won consecutive outings.

"We've been kind of swimming upstream the whole year. It's nice to see us break out in consecutive games. I love our preparation before the game," Littlewood said. "We've got a bit of mojo going right now."

Although BYU won the series, the team readies for the chance at a sweep. The Cougars will close out the series against the Tigers Saturday at noon MDT at Utah Valley's Brent Brown Ballpark in Orem, Utah.

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