PROVO, Utah – No. 19 San Diego took a two-game lead over BYU baseball to solidify its first place league standing with a 14-7 victory Thursday at Larry H. Miller Field.
The Toreros (34-11, 11-5) stayed atop the West Coast Conference thanks to a pinch-hit, two-run single from Jon Hotta in the seventh inning to regain the lead, 8-7.
Starting pitcher Desmond Poulson held on to the BYU (18-19, 7-6) lead, after a pair of doubles between the third and fourth, until he was retired in the seventh.
“This was a good test for us against a good San Diego team,” BYU coach Vance Law said. “San Diego is a good hitting team and we can’t afford to fall behind.”
The Toreros took a 3-0 lead through the first two innings. All-American Bryant ripped a lead off home run in the third to bring for a 4-2 lead before Poulson settled into his role on the mound.
Momentum changed in the third when BYU found itself on top. Stephen Wells led off with a double off the centerfield wall and later scored because of two BYU groundouts. Taking advantage of back-to-back walks, Alex Wolfe then doubled to right-center field on full count for two RBIs and a 5-4 Cougar lead.
BYU padded its lead to 7-4 in the fourth with a centerfield line drive by Austin Hall on a full count that plated two. Hall’s single chased San Diego’s starting pitcher Dylan Covey off the mound with eventual winning pitcher Max MacNabb taking his place.
James Lengal, who took the loss, replaced Poulson on the mound in the seventh before Mason Marshall quickly relieved him. Bryan Haar drilled a double down the left field line to score another run and extend the Torero lead to 9-7
“We are in a position where our middle relievers accept a difficult role,” Law said. “I can’t use the whole bullpen on the first day.”
The Cougars take on the Toreros Friday at 6 p.m. MDT in the second of a three-game series.
All of the BYU-USD games will be televised live by BYUtv and by 960 AM and BYU Radio on the Internet.