Bullpen, Batters Beat Wolverines
OREM (May 4, 2010)—Before a record 3,744 fans, BYU baseball beat Utah Valley University 14-10 behind pitcher Kevin Sloan begin_of_the_skype_highlighting end_of_the_skype_highlighting and Jonathan Cluff on Tuesday night at Brent Brown Ballpark.
Sloan remained undefeated at 8-0, BYU improved to 19-23 and Cluff went 4-for-4 in the come-from-behind victory, but the catalyst was Cougar sophomore Austin Hall.
Hall drew a one-out walk in the sixth inning and ran like a gazelle on a hit-and-run single by Dane Nielsen to right field for the tying run at eight-all.
“Austin (Hall) running hard was the biggest momentum-changer,” said Cluff. “It lit a spark underneath us.” BYU was down 8-2 through two full innings.
In the sixth, Cluff hit a three-run homer to rightfield, his second in as many innings to that same field as BYU batted around in the top of the frame, scoring seven runs off four hits.
“We started off the sixth with a couple base hits and Hall ran hard the whole way,” said BYU coach Vance Law. “It’s a play that we practice. He got a good jump, I got a good read and he kept going for a big emotional lift for us.”
After Hall scored, Stephen Wells ripped a two-run triple down the rightfield line two batters later as BYU ended the sixth with an 11-8 lead.
UVU jumped out to a 3-0 thanks to a pair of doubles and strong base running in the first inning.
The Cougars picked up a pair of runs off a two-run double by Hall in the second to make the score 3-2.
The Cougars could have been out of the second inning unscathed. With two runners on base, Matthew Neil battled Jace Brinkerhoff through five consecutive foul balls before he struck out looking for the second out, but a long fly ball was dropped on the warning track. Consequently, the Wolverines scored five unearned runs to make the score 8-2.
After an hour of play, the Cougars were finally able to retire UVU in order in the third, thanks to a 1-6-3 double play.
Bryce Ayoso led off the fourth with a leftfield home run. Two batters later Cluff knocked a homer to rightfield to make the score 8-4.
With two on in the fifth, Law elected to remove Justin Shutt from the mound so that Sloan could face lefty Brinkerhoff, who grounded out weakly to him to end the inning.
“The key to the whole thing was in the bottom of the fifth,” said Law. “Our bullpen was really good. Shutt (Justin) kept us close and Kevin (Sloan) did a tremendous job."
A couple other homers added insurance for BYU as the game wound down. Ryan Bernal clouted a lead-off homer in the seventh just west of the rightfield scoreboard equaled the Wolverine run tacked on in the earlier frame as BYU maintained its three-run lead, 12-9.
Brandon Relf led off with a homer to left-center in the eighth for BYU. Brinkerhoff led off with a double in the bottom of that frame and was doubled in by Billy Burgess to make the score 13-10.
UVU, now 25-15, has a rematch with BYU on May 18 in Provo. The Cougars now return to league play with a three-game series starting Thursday in Las Vegas in a rematch versus UNLV.
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