April 5, 2014

Slugfest Goes The Way Of The Tigers As Pacific Beats BYU 11-7

Orem, Utah - Salvaging the final game of their three game series in Utah, the Pacific baseball team won a slugfest against BYU on Saturday, April 5, taking the contest 11-7 at Brent Brown Ballpark. The win gave the Tigers one of the three games against the Cougars over the weekend as Pacific improved to 14-19 on the year and 5-7 in WCC play while the Cougars fell to 12-21 overall and 4-8 in conference action.

Looking to get back on track after a rough first two days in Utah, the Tigers found their offense in the final game of the weekend to come away with the win. Starting fast and rarely slowing Pacific came up with season highs in hits and runs scored against the Cougars as the Tigers tallied 16 hits and 11 runs to take down BYU.

Wasting little time cracking the code that was the Cougars' pitching staff, Pacific came up with a pair of runs in the first inning of play to take a lead they would not give back. Junior Tyler Sullivan set the stage for what was to come throughout the afternoon as he led the game off with a solo home run to left field on the third pitch of the game. The home run was the second of the season for the third-year centerfielder as he put a ball up into the thin mountain air and watched it drift out for the first run. Following directly behind Sullivan, junior Taylor Murphy just missed a home run of his own as he lifted a ball to right-center that ended up hitting the wall for a triple. 90 feet from scoring, Murphy came in to score the second run of the inning on a sacrifice fly by sophomore Brett Sullivan.

Up two, Pacific broke the game open in the third as the Tigers plated seven runs on seven hits with 11 batters coming to the plate in the frame. For Pacific, all of the damage in the inning came with two outs beginning with a two-RBI single by senior Erik Lockwood and culminating with a three-run home run by junior Jimmy Gosano. The blast by Gosano was the second of the season for the Tigers' second baseman after hitting his first Division I home run a week ago against Santa Clara. In between the two big hits from Pacific's right side the Tigers grabbed a pair of RBI singles from senior John Haberman and sophomore Louis Mejia. The two were making their first start of the weekend for Pacific as Haberman started as Pacific's DH while Mejia started at third in place of sophomore J.J. Wagner who was held out for precautionary reasons.

The quick start for Pacific was just the start of an epic offensive clash as the Cougars stormed back with seven unanswered runs to put a scare into the Tigers. Starting slowly, BYU notched its first run of the game in the bottom of the third when Pacific's defense suffered a pair of miscues that helped the Cougars score against starter Jake Jenkins (3-2). 

With one across, the Cougars cut the Tigers lead in half to just four runs in the bottom of the fifth when the top of the lineup struck for four hits including a three-run home run off the bat of Kelton Caldwell on the first pitch he saw in the at bat. Two innings later, Caldwell struck again as he turned on an off-speed pitch inside, lifting a two-run home run to right field to cut Pacific's lead to just two at 9-7. The runs produced by Caldwell would be the last of the game for the Cougars as Pacific went to seniors Kyle Crawford and Jason Taasaas in the eighth to shutdown the top of the order.

In the ninth, Pacific slammed the door on BYU's comeback attempt with a pair of runs in the top of the inning courtesy of RBI singles by Lockwood and Wagner, who had entered the game to run and play defense in the seventh. Lockwood's single came on the heels of a double by sophomore J.P. Yakel who slashed a one-out double down the left field line to kick start the rally. With the insurance runs on the board, freshman Vince Arobio entered the game in the ninth to put the finishing touches on the the win as he struck out a pair including punching out Caldwell on a 3-2 changeup to begin the inning.

Overall, 10 different Tigers recorded a hit in the contest as all nine starters and Wagner off the bench posted a hit in the game. Haberman led the way with three hits in five trips to the plate while T. Sullivan, Murphy, Lockwood, and Gosano each recorded a pair of knocks.

Jenkins earned the win for the Tigers in his second start of conference play as he has recorded a win in three of his last four appearances to push his record over .500 for the first time in 2014. He finished the game with nine hits against and five runs earned in five innings of work while striking out four and walking one. For the Cougars, Jeff Barker (2-5) suffered the loss as the Tigers' shelled the Cougar starter to the tune of eight hits and eight runs in 2.2 innings of work.

The Tigers return home for a single midweek contest on Tuesday, April 8 when they host Sacramento State at Klein Family Field. The game is a return trip for the Hornets after the two teams faced off in Sacramento three weeks prior. The game is scheduled for 6:00 pm.