STOCKTON, California—Second-seeded Pepperdine came from behind Thursday evening for an 8-7 victory over third-seeded BYU baseball in the West Coast Conference Tournament.
The Waves (28-26) twice came from behind, first with a five-run rally to tie the game in the eighth inning and finally with a three-run burst, paced by Aaron Barnett’s two-run single in the ninth.
“Anything that could have gone against us did,” BYU coach Mike Littlewood said. “When you get in tournaments like this you pretty much have to make every play.
“Overall we out-played them for 8 and 1/3 innings. They are a good team and not going to hurt themselves and do things right. I felt confident, even when they had guys on. Things rolled their way.”
Barnett’s sharp single popped in and out of the glove of BYU first-baseman Dillon Robinson.
“They were hard hit balls and Dillon wasn’t able to make the play,” Littlewood said. “If the ball goes into Dillon’s glove, it’s game over.
“It’s unfortunate for Brandon Kinser, that’s exactly what we needed from him. It’s disappointing. BK did such a great job and lost it just like that. I probably waited one hitter too long, but I didn’t think Mason (Marshall) was ready. Mason wasn’t as sharp as he has been for the last two months.”
BYU (28-24) took the initial 1-0 lead when Pepperdine first baseman Brad Anderson threw wide to second and his errant throw enabled Parker Starr to score rounding the hot corner in the third inning.
Robinson belted two-run homer to right on 1-1 count to extend his hitting streak to seven games and a 5-0 margin in eighth.
Then the collapse came in the bottom of the eighth when Kinser loaded the bases with no outs, giving way to reliever Marshall (4-2), who ended up the losing pitcher. Marshall got the first out, and then surrendered a line drive single that skimmed over the top of Robinson’s glove at first for a pair of runs.
The Cougars got great defense like Iorg’s super running catch, crashing into left field wall to snuff out lthe ead-off Wave batter in the sixth and several other plays by shortstop Nielsen and catcher Bronson Larsen.
“We talked about our team confidence, you could see it through nine innings until it unraveled us,” Littlewood said. “This is a quick turn-around. We need to regroup in a hurry. We are in survival mode right now and try to move on.”
Friday at noon PDT, BYU plays top-seeded San Diego, who got upset earlier in the day, 21-3 to Loyola Marymount. That game will be broadcast live on ESPN 960 AM/BYU Radio and streamed online by theW.tv. The winner of that game plays again at 7:30 p.m. PDT.