PROVO, Utah (April 4, 2016)—Arizona handed No. 19 BYU baseball an 11-5 loss behind stalwart pitching Monday in front of a record crowd of 2,825 at Larry H. Miller Field.
The Wildcats, 18-11, halted a three-game losing skid, handing the Cougars their fourth loss of the season against 23 wins.
“They had a bit more will to win than we did today,” BYU coach Mike Littlewood said. “They are a really good team and had a little bit more sense of urgency today that we did.”
Arizona ace reliever Bobby Dalbec made the most of his first start in 14 appearances, handcuffing the No. 2 ranked batting team in the NCAA as BYU brought a .336 average into the afternoon game.
“He (Dalbec) was good, throwing 91 to 94 and had good stuff with a three-pitch mix,” Littlewood said. “The 135 pitches he threw makes me think they may put him in their rotation. We were surprised he stayed in there.”
The Cougars used an array of six different pitchers to no avail as Arizona jumped out to leads of 2-0, then 8-3 with against the nation’s No. 3 scoring team. Arizona scored eight of its runs with two outs.
Aside from the crowd, the lone bright light for BYU was freshman rightfielder Keaton Kringlen who smashed a pair of home runs in the third and sixth innings when the Cougars generated runs.
“The guy (Kringlen) can just square up the ball,” Littlewood said. “We knew Keaton could step in there. He just finds the barrel all the time, he’s a natural hitter.”
The Wildcats got a three-run homer from Jared Oliva in the sixth and a solo homer from Ryan Aguilar in the eighth.
The crowd was the highest day-time attendance at Miller Park, the fourth-highest in at the facility and the sixth-highest in school history.
“I just wish we could have given them (the crowd) a win,” Littlewood said. “To be out on the field, hear the buzz of the crowd is great. It was an awesome crowd today.”
The loss was BYU’s first in non-conference at home since 2014 against Utah Valley University.
First place BYU returns to West Coast Conference action Thursday when it hosts a three-game series against the University of San Diego.