USF takes game one of series, 6-5


SAN FRANCISCO – Host San Francisco scored on a sacrifice-fly to centerfield for a 6-5 victory over BYU baseball in the ninth inning on Thursday.

The Cougars, now 32-14 overall and 13-9 in the West Coast Conference, had leads of 5-4 and 2-1 which vanished in the first of three games against USF, now 20-31 and 14-11 in the WCC.

“We shot ourselves in the foot all game long,” BYU coach Mike Littlewood said. “We let scoring opportunities escape us early in the game and walked too many guys late.”

Among those opportunities to expand or take leads came in the first, second, eighth and ninth innings. The Cougars stranded pairs of runners in the first and second frames, hitting into double plays in the first, eighth and ninth innings and failing to execute bunts.

The Dons took advantage of their chances. Bay breezes helped home runs helped USF in the third and fifth innings with solo and three-run blasts, respectively.  BYU’s Brennon Anderson knocked a two-run, 400-foot homer in the fifth inning. The Cougars took a 5-4 lead in the fifth when Hayden Nielsen singled in Brennon Lund.

While starter Michael Rucker left the game after seven innings, throwing 128 pitches and striking out eight, he remains undefeated at 10-0 because reliever Mason Marshall (1-3) was tagged with the loss.

“Mike (Rucker) made a couple mistakes today and they put good swings on those mistakes,” Littlewood said. “We need to show some resiliency and come out Friday and play for our lives.”

In addition to Anderson, BYU got back-to-back doubles to lead off the two-run fourth from Colton Shaver and Keaton Kringlen. Kringlen was 3-for-3, scoring a pair of runs in the loss.

Friday’s game between the two teams starts at 3 p.m. PDT and will be broadcast live by ESPNSports 960 AM, BYU Radio and Sirius Satellite 143.