Tigers Taken Down By BYU In WCC Opener

Photo Courtesy of Meghan Laurel Photography
Photo Courtesy of Meghan Laurel Photography

Provo, Utah – The Pacific Tigers fell behind early against the BYU Cougars and were never able to fight back into the game, eventually falling 19-3.  The game was the opener in West Coast Conference play for both teams.  Pacific falls to 6-11 overall this year and 1-8 on the road.  The Cougars are now 17-1.

Fresh off his second seven-inning performance of the year, Will Lydon got the start for the Tigers.  Jordon Gonzalez took over in the fourth for Lydon, who fell to 0-4 on the season despite three quality starts.  Gonzalez struck out six in his three innings of work and now has multiple strikeouts in all but one of his outings this year.  The six strikeouts set a new career high for Gonzalez, shattering his previous best of four.

Grant Shives also appeared, making his third multi-inning appearance of his freshman season.  Shives struck out three in two innings, setting a new career high for strikeouts.

BYU's Mike Rucker was on the mound and went six innings, striking out seven and giving up two runs as he picked up his fourth win of the year. 

The Cougars scored two quick runs after leading off the game with a single.  BYU tripled deep into the rightfield corner one batter later to take the lead.  Lydon did well to work out of the jam, getting three straight outs, but not before the Cougars were able to score on a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0.

J.J. Wagner singled straight up the middle with a bouncer past the pitcher in the second for Pacific's first hit of the game, coming immediately after a Gio Brusa walk.  Though the Tigers threatened, they were held off the board as a double play and a strikeout killed off the potential rally.  Wagner would end up with three hits in his four at-bats on the day, making him 6-for-12 with four runs in the last three games.

A first-pitch double started the second for BYU.  The runner came around to score after a throwing error, putting another man in scoring position as the ball left the field of play.  Another double, BYU's third extra-base hit of the game, drove in the run that pushed the lead to 4-0.

A bloop single scored another run for BYU.  The ball dropped just out of reach of a charging Danny Mayer and a retreating Kevin Sandri, who made an attempt at the ball over his shoulder.  After a groundout and a wild pitch, the Cougars drove in their sixth run of the game with a single under Wagner's glove as the Tiger third baseman made a valiant diving attempt. 

Sandri recorded his team-leading fifth HBP of the year in the third as Pacific continued to put men on but again were held off the scoreboard.

The third saw four more runs scored for the Cougars.  A single with runners on the corners drove one in.  After that, a pop fly to centerfield got lost in the sun and dropped away from the fielders for run number eight.  That play also allowed BYU to put a man in scoring position who came around to the plate on a single into right.  The final run of the inning came on a fielding error as Sandri couldn't quite complete the transfer to his throwing hand on a grounder. 

The Tigers put together another scoring opportunity once they got back up to bat in the fourth.  Brusa beat out a dropped third strike to reach first.  After that, Wagner singled for the second time in as many at-bats, depositing the ball in front of the rightfielder and moving Brusa to third.

This time, Louis Mejia came through in the clutch as he had often before to drive in the first run of the game for Pacific.  Mejia didn't get all of the ball but his grounder made it to the outfield grass before the second baseman was able to get a hold of it.  The senior beat the throw to first for an infield hit, extending his team-best hitting streak to nine games as Brusa came around to score.  The hitting streak is the longest of any Tiger this season and just two games away from last season's best. 

J.P. Yakel drove in a second run with a single after that.  Wagner scored from second as Yakel bounced a hot shot into right, moving Mejia to second as well.  It was the fifth RBI of the year for Yakel, who has hits in five of seven games.

After loading the bases with two outs, BYU cleared them with a double to the left-center wall.  A ball glanced off a Pacific glove for the next batter in what was ruled a single to score a fourth run and make it 14-2.

BYU scored again in the sixth, singling to left with two outs, making it 15-2.

Once again, the BYU bats came alive, this time scoring four in the eighth following an error to start the rally.  A double to left center plated one and pushed two men into scoring position.  After a walk to load the bases, the Cougars doubled to the wall and drove in three more runs to extend the lead to 19-2.
McKay Koissian drove in his second run in his last three at-bats with a single that dropped into center in the ninth.  The single scored Vinny Margiotta, giving the freshman his first run of his career.

Tomorrow's game between Pacific and BYU will not have any video but will have live audio available.  That game starts at 6:00 pm.  The Saturday finale of the series will begin at 1:00 pm and will have live video available via BYU TV. 

Make sure to follow Pacific baseball on Twitter with the username @PacificBaseball and on Instagram at pacificbaseball.