Cougars tally 15 hits in 11-10 win over San Diego
SAN DIEGO, Calif. – A seven-run second inning propelled BYU baseball to a 11-10 win over San Diego at Fowler Park on Friday. The victory extended the Cougars’ winning streak to seven games and ensured a BYU series win over the Toreros.
“That was a tough game,” said BYU head coach Mike Littlewood. “San Diego is such a dangerous team. It felt like whoever had the last at bat would probably win the game and it almost happened. The energy and emotion tonight was incredible. I’m real proud of the way our guys kept fighting.”
San Diego (28-10, 14-6) jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first on three base hits, but the Cougars turned a double play to end the threat and get out of the inning.
BYU (19-23, 11-9) answered back in the top of the second inning with seven runs on four hits. With Danny Gelalich on second and Abraham Valdez on first, after both being hit by a pitch, Vest walked to load the bases. Mitch McIntyre then doubled to left to score Gelalich and Vest. Peyton Cole drew a walk and Andrew Pintar singled up the middle to score Vest. Later, with bases loaded, Cole Gambill walked to score McIntyre and Brock Watkins singled to centerfield to score Cole and Pintar. With two outs, Gelalich singled through the right side to score Gambill and give BYU a 7-1 lead.
The Cougars tacked on another run in the top of the third on a single by Pintar that scored Vest, who had singled to rightfield to start the inning and advanced into scoring position on a ground ball through the right side by McIntyre.
Down seven runs San Diego refused to quit. The Toreros chipped away at the BYU lead with a run in both the third and fourth innings, followed by two more in the fifth to close the gap to 8-5.
BYU responded with a run in the sixth when Leatham scored on a double down the rightfield line by McIntyre to push the lead to 9-5. USD answered in seventh with a run of its own on two hits and a walk to cut the lead to 9-6.
After a scoreless eighth, BYU tacked on two runs in the top of the ninth to extend its lead to 11-6. Gambill reached on an error and Watkins walked to start the inning. Both moved up a base on a wild pitch and Gambill scored on a second wild pitch. With two outs, Valdez delivered what would become the winning hit with a single to centerfield to score Watkins and give the Cougars a 11-6 lead.
BYU would need all 11 runs, as the bottom of the ninth turned out to be an adventure. The Toreros battled back with four hits, including a two-run home run by pinch hitter Chase Meidroth, to pull within one 11-10. With two outs and the bases empty, right-hander Carter Smith got designated hitter Thomas Luevano to flyout to McIntyre in centerfield to end the game.
Lefty reliever Copper McKeehan came on in relief in the sixth and held the Toreros scoreless for 1.1 innings to earn the win for the Cougars.
“That game was a grind,” said BYU senior catcher Valdez. “I’m real proud of the way we kept battling tonight. This team loves baseball. We are having fun and playing real well right now.”
The BYU victory handed San Diego just its second back-to-back loss of the season. The other one came in the first two games of the year versus San Diego State.
BYU will play for the series sweep over San Diego in the final game of the WCC series on Saturday, May 7, at 1 p.m. PDT at Fowler Park. The game will be broadcast on the WCC Network. Audio broadcasts will also be available on the BYU Sports Network: BYU Radio FM 107.9 FM, BYUCougars.com and the BYU Cougars app.