Kevin's 2nd Pitching 'WIN' of the season

by Ralph R. Zobell, BYU Athletic Communications

Stephen Wells' homer was his first since returning from a mission.   BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey

Home Opener vs. Washington on Thursday 

ARLINGTON, Texas (March 6, 2010)—Stephen Wells’ two-run homer in the ninth inning lifted BYU to an 11-10 victory Saturday over UT Arlington in a seesaw game.

The Cougars improve to 4-7, while UT Arlington falls to 4-6. The victory over the Mavericks gave BYU a bookend finish to a five-game week that started earlier in Texas with a win at Baylor.

“I am proud of our effort in continuing to fight back, it is a step in the right direction,” said BYU coach Vance Law. “It would have been easy to fold it up after the eighth.”

Wells, a Washington sophomore outfielder who had not played in a week because of a hamstring injury, belted a shot to rightfield off All-American junior outfielder Michael Choice, who came in as a UTA’s sixth reliever and his first appearance from the mound.

Senior Kevin Sloan picked up his second victory of the season after two save opportunities were blown by other Cougar relievers. He retired the Mavericks in order in the ninth to preserve the win in a game that had several lead changes.

Sean McNaughton got BYU off to a good start with a two-run homer to left centerfield in the third to give the Cougars a 2-0 lead.

The Mavericks tied the game in the third and took a 5-2 lead in the fourth. Cougar freshman hurler Chunner Nyberg rallied with three of his five strikeouts in the fifth and sixth innings.

“Nyberg threw the ball really well and gave us a chance to win,” said Law.

BYU regained the lead in the two-run sixth when Austin Hall led off with a double, followed by a Maverick error, allowing Jonathan Cluff on base. Hall and Cluff scored on a wild pitch and balk, respectively to put BYU up 6-5.

BYU DH Ryan Bernal drew a lead-off walk in the seventh and scored on a Chase Frampton single. Frampton later scored on Hall’s single, increasing the Cougar lead to 8-5.

That margin evaporated in the seventh when Jordan Vaughn and Choice knocked back-to-back solo homers, robbing Nyberg of a probable win as the game was tied eight-all through seven complete.

McNaughton’s double in the eighth paved the way for BYU to take a 9-8 lead. UTA took a 10-9 lead in the eighth with two after Sloan took the mound and intentionally walked Choice as his first batter.

The Cougars return to open the home season on Thursday in a three-game series with Washington.

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