Cougars Split Doubleheader to Open Season
SAN MARCOS, Texas — BYU baseball split a doubleheader with Texas State on Saturday in the season opener for both teams. After a ninth inning rally came up just short in a 5-4 game one loss, the Cougars bounced back in the nightcap with a 9-4 victory.
The Cougars got down early in the first inning on a throwing error that led to a Bobcat run. Texas State added to its lead in the second, scoring twice with the bases loaded to go ahead 3-0.
"We came out a little tentative in game one and threw the ball around a little bit," said BYU head coach Mike Littlewood. "Unfortunately it ended up hurting us in the end. Cy didn’t have great stuff today, but Easton came in and was real sharp and gave us a chance to win."
BYU made it a one-run game on a two-run homer by right fielder Cole Gambill in the fourth, but the Bobcats added a run of their own in the bottom half of the inning to take a 4-2 advantage.
After a scoreless fifth inning, the Cougars tied it up at 4-4 in the sixth on a two-run, two-out double by catcher Abraham Valdez. Infielder Andrew Pintar and designated hitter Joshua Cowden scored from first and third on the double down the right field line.
A Cougar error in the seventh inning gave Texas State a runner on third, and the Bobcats took advantage on an RBI groundout that scored what proved to be the winning run.
Down 5-4 in the ninth inning, BYU had runners on first and second with one out, but a strike out and a fly out to deep left field ended the game.
- Sophomore starting pitcher Cy Nielson opened the game with three strikeouts in the first inning.
- Junior SLCC transfer Gambill homered to right center in the fourth inning, a two-run shot.
- In the sixth inning, junior Cowden walked and sophomore Pintar hit a two-out single that dropped into center field, advancing Cowden to third and paving the way for Valdez’ two-RBI double.
- Senior Easton Walker, who entered the game in the fourth inning with two outs, retired the side in the bottom of the sixth inning.
- Freshman Boston Mabeus came into the game in the eight inning and struck out the side, two looking and one swinging.
- Starting pitcher Cy Nielson: 3.2 IP, 6 K, 3 BB, 5 H, 3 ER
- Easton Walker: 3.1 IP, 2 K, 0 BB, 0 H, 0 ER
- Abraham Valdez: 2-4, 2 2B
- Hit – Austin Deming bloop single into right center the first inning
- Walk – Gambill in the second inning
- Stolen Base – Hayden Leatham stole third base in the third inning
- RBI & Home Run – Gambill to right center in the fourth inning
- Double – Valdez in the fourth inning
- Retire the Side – Two Nielson strikeouts and a line out to second baseman Andrew Pintar in the third inning
- Strikeout – Nielson struck out the leadoff batter in the first inning
BYU got things rolling early in the second inning on junior right fielder Cole Gambill’s second home run of the day, a three-run shot off the batter’s eye in center field. The Cougars scored again in the inning on a Hayden Leatham sacrifice fly that plated Andrew Pintar, giving BYU an early 4-0 lead.
"Cole Gambill did a great job on offense and defense today in his Division 1 debut," said Littlewood.
Texas State answered in the bottom half of the second inning with a 3-RBI double, making it 4-3, after two. The Bobcats then tied it up at 4-all in the third on an infield single after getting a runner on third with a deep triple to left center.
The Cougars took the lead back in the fifth inning when junior Jacob Wilk’s RBI double scored Joshua Cowden from second. BYU added an insurance run in the sixth, going ahead 6-4 on a bases loaded wild pitch that scored Leatham.
In the ninth inning, senior Freddie Achecar came in as a pinch-hitter and promptly got on base with a first-pitch single. He then came around to score on three wild pitches, extending the Cougar lead to 7-4. BYU added two more runs in the inning as Brock Watkins reached on a fielder's choice and throwing error that scored Pintar and Gambill.
Bryce Robison went four innings in relief, striking out two and surrendering no earned runs. Cougar closer Reid McLaughlin pitched the final two inning, facing just seven Bobcat hitters on his way to picking up the save.
"Bryce was lights out in game two and our offense put pressure on them the entire game," said Littlewood. "It’s nice to have a guy like Reid McGlaughlin you can hand the ball to that can finish things out."
- After having the side retired in the first inning, BYU recorded four hits and had five on base in the second inning.
- Abraham Valdez stole second base in the second inning, his first stolen base of the season and the Cougars’ second on the year.
- Gambill threw out a Texas State runner at the plate to end the Bobcats’ second inning scoring
- In the third inning, Texas State intentionally walked Gambill to load the bases with one out, but the Cougars left the bases loaded after a pop out and a ground out.
- BYU had to settle for one run in the fifth inning as they had the bases loaded again, but a two-out groundout back to the pitcher ended the inning.
- The Cougars retired the Bobcat side in order in the fifth inning, the first time they had done so since the first inning.
- BYU had the bases loaded once more in the sixth, scoring a run on a wild pitch that started with back-to-back walks and Austin Deming reaching on a fielding error.
- Robison got out of a bases loaded jam in the seventh, and between the fourth and seventh innings, retired 10 straight batters.
- The Cougars left the bases loaded again in the ninth, but only after scoring three runs in the inning.
- Starting pitcher Jack Sterner: 3 IP, 2 K, 1 BB, 5 H, 3 ER
- Robison: 4 IP, 2 K, 2 BB, 1 H, 0 ER
- McGlaughlin: 2 IP, 2 K, 0 BB, 1 H, 0 ER
- Cowden, 3-6, 2 R, 2 2B
- Hit By Pitch - Gambill in the ninth inning
The Cougars will be back at Bobcat Ballpark to face Texas State in game three of the four-game series on Monday, Feb. 22 at 4:02 p.m. CST. No television or radio broadcast is scheduled, but live stats will be available.