BYU opens WCC play with a 5-4 win over LMU
LOS ANGELES — A big three-run third inning — combined with an outstanding pitching performance by starter Easton Walker — gave BYU a 5-4 win over Loyola Marymount in the opening game of West Coast Conference play at Page Stadium on Thursday.
“It was a total team effort tonight,” said BYU associate head coach Trent Pratt. “We used a lot of guys tonight and everyone came ready to contribute. We made plays when we needed to. We got a couple of timely hits and came away with a big win to start conference play.”
Senior righthander Walker scattered four hits over six innings and surrendered just one earned run to pick up the BYU (4-11, 1-0) victory. In five appearances on this season, Walker has allowed just two earned runs over 25.2 innings. He has an earned run average of 0.70 and is holding opposing hitters to a .168 average.
“I’m real proud of Easton,” said Pratt. “He didn't have his best stuff early on, but he found it, settled in and got better as the game went along.”
LMU (7-8, 0-1) got on the board early with a run in the first, but the Cougars countered with two of their own in the top of the second. Leading off the inning, Josh Cowden doubled to left center and Freddy Achecar followed with a double of his own down the leftfield line to score Cowden. Achecar advanced on a throwing error and scored on a sacrifice fly to leftfield by Hunter Swapp.
The Lions countered in the bottom half of the second with two runs of their own on a walk and a couple of BYU errors to take a 3-2 lead.
After a scoreless third inning, BYU struck for three runs in the fourth taking advantage of two walks and an LMU error. With two outs and runners on second and third, Peyton Cole delivered the clutch hit of the night with a single to centerfield to score Swapp and Cole Gambill.
After an LMU run in the seventh inning cut the Cougar lead to 5-4, BYU handed the ball to reliever Reid McLaughlin to close out the game. Over the next two innings, the junior righthander faced eight batters, including three groundball outs and striking out three to seal the Cougar victory.
- Cole: 1-3, 2 RBI
- Cowden: 1-3, 2 runs, BB
- Achecar: 1-3, 1 run, 1 RBI, BB
- Walker: 6.0 IP, 4 hits, 1 ER, 6 K, Win
- McLaughlin: 2.0 IP, 1 hit, 0 ER, 3 K, Save
Game two of the three-game series is set for Friday, March 19 at 6:00 p.m. PT. The game will be broadcast on the BYU Sports Network via BYU Radio FM 107.9, BYUCougars.com and the BYU Cougars app. Live stats are available at StatBroadcast.com. Game three is scheduled for Saturday, March 20 at 1:00 p.m. PT.