Rutgers Gets Comeback Win

LINCOLN -- Twice BYU came back to tie the score against Rutgers, but the Scarlet Knights rallied to get a 4-3 victory Friday at the NCAA Baseball Regionals.

The Cougars, now 38-21, face a do-or-die situation on Saturday at 11 a.m. CDT when they play Northern Iowa, 34-27. The winner of that game plays again Saturday versus the loser of the Nebraska-Rutgers game at 7 p.m. CDT.

Despite seven strikeouts in his 139 pitches, Nate Fernley, the nation's winningest pitcher and a second-team All-American by Collegiate Baseball, lost for the third time this season against 16 victories as he logged his seventh complete game.

Rutgers took a 2-0 lead against BYU until the Cougars tied the score in the seventh inning from a lead-off home run by Jeff Hiestand and Lars Birkeland's one out single which scored Seth King.

Rutgers took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the seventh when Brian Ciemniecki hit a lead-off single and advance to third on one of BYU's three errors in the game. Ciemniecki scored off Val Majewski's sacrifice fly.

BYU battled back in the ninth to knot the score at three-all. Michael Wirrick hit a one-out single and was replaced by pinch runner Cameron Coughlan. Coughlan stole second and later scored off Tyler Perry's two-out single to right field when Bobby Brownlie hung a curve.

"Tyler Perry came through with a big base hit," said BYU Coach Vance Law. "Some of our guys get tougher with two outs and he is one of those guys."

The Scarlet Knights won the game in the bottom of the ninth when Matt Wolski drew a one-out walk, and advanced on Majewski's double. Fernley then intentionally first-team All-American Billy McCarthy to load the bases. Mike Popowski then hit a slow grounder to short to score Wolski.

Popowski had tried to score the game's first run in the second inning on the Scarlet Knight's third single of the inning. However, right fielder Matt Carson gunned him down at home plate as Fernley worked out of a bases loaded situation.

In the third, Rutgers scored its first two runs when Wolski was hit by a pitch, advanced on a balk and single by McCarthy and then scored on Popowski's sac-fly. McCarthy advanced on a wild pitch and scored off Todd Speedy's single.

BYU failed to score base runners in the second, fifth and sixth innings. Then Hiestand drove his eighth homer over the 360 mark in right field. King got an infield single and advanced to second on the error and tied the game at 2-2 when Lars Birkeland's single bounded high off the pitcher's mound. Hiestand and King lead the Cougars with a pair of hits. King extended his hitting streak to 17 games.

Birkeland helped turn a double play to end the seventh inning when he caught the third strike on Popowski, then threw out Wolski trying to steal second on the play.

"BYU gave me all I could handle, but fortunately I got the breaks," said Brownlie, who improved his record to 6-3. Brownlie's six strikeouts helped him set the Rutgers' career strikeout record at 175 as he also went the distance. He joins Carson as an invitee to the U.S. Team Trials.

"It was a heck of a game," said Rutgers Coach Fred Hill. "The bottom of BYU's lineup hurt us more than their big hitters. Fernley did a nice job keeping us off balance, he is a real competitor."

Rutgers, now 46-14, advances to play Nebraska on Saturday afternoon. Nebraska defeated Northern Iowa in the first round Friday, 16-6.

The Automated ScoreBook

Brigham Young Univ. vs Rutgers University

May 25, 2001 at Lincoln, Nebraska (Buck Beltzer Field)

Brigham Young Univ. 3 (34-27)

Player AB R H RBI BB SO PO A LOB

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JACKSON, Doug lf......... 4 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 1

BELLISTON, Shane cf...... 4 0 0 0 0 1 4 0 0

CARSON, Matt rf.......... 4 0 0 0 0 2 4 1 0

OBREY, Kainoa 3b......... 4 0 1 0 0 1 0 2 1

HIESTAND, Jeff dh........ 4 1 2 1 0 0 0 0 1

KING, Seth ss............ 4 1 2 0 0 1 1 2 0

WIRRICK, Michael 1b...... 3 0 1 0 0 0 4 0 0

COUGHLAN, Cameron pr/2b. 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

BIRKELAND, Lars c........ 3 0 1 1 1 0 9 1 2

PERRY, Tyler 2b.......... 4 0 1 1 0 0 2 1 1

LAW, Tim 1b............. 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

FERNLEY, Nate p.......... 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Totals................... 34 3 9 3 1 6 25 7 6

Rutgers University 4 (46-14)

Player AB R H RBI BB SO PO A LOB

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CIEMNIECKI, Brian cf..... 5 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 3

WOLSKI, Matt 2b.......... 1 2 0 0 2 1 1 6 0

MAJEWSKI, Val lf......... 4 0 2 1 0 0 1 0 0

McCARTHY, Billy rf....... 4 1 1 0 1 1 0 0 1

POPOWSKI, Mike c......... 4 0 2 2 0 1 6 1 1

SPEEDY, Todd dh.......... 4 0 1 1 0 2 0 0 0

LILLIS, Ryan 3b.......... 4 0 2 0 0 0 0 2 1

NORMANE, Steve 1b........ 4 0 1 0 0 1 17 0 0

SWEENEY, Tim ss.......... 3 0 0 0 1 1 1 2 3

BROWNLIE, Bobby p........ 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 0

Totals................... 33 4 10 4 4 7 27 15 12

Score by Innings R H E

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Brigham Young Univ.. 000 000 201 - 3 9 3

Rutgers University.. 002 000 101 - 4 10 1

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Note: 1 out, 3 runners LOB when the game ended.

E - WIRRICK 2; LAW; NORMANE. DP - Cougars 1. LOB - Cougars 6; Scar.Knights

12. 2B - MAJEWSKI 2. HR - HIESTAND(8). HBP - WOLSKI. SH - WIRRICK; WOLSKI.

SF - MAJEWSKI; POPOWSKI. SB - COUGHLAN. CS - PERRY; WOLSKI.

Brigham Young Univ. IP H R ER BB SO AB BF

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FERNLEY, Nate....... 8.1 10 4 3 4 7 33 41

Rutgers University IP H R ER BB SO AB BF

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BROWNLIE, Bobby..... 9.0 9 3 3 1 6 34 36

Win - BROWNLIE (6-3). Loss - FERNLEY (16-3). Save - None.

WP - FERNLEY; BROWNLIE. HB - FERNLEY. BK - FERNLEY.

Umpires - Home:Ray Belfiore 1st:Scott Graham 2nd:Bruce Ravan 3rd:Dan Marple

Start: 7:01 Time: 2:13 Attendance: 1595

Game notes:

Game 2 of NCAA Lincoln Regional

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