Sloan Leads to Sweep of Aztecs
PROVO (May 15, 2010)--Reliever Kevin Sloan begin_of_the_skype_highlighting end_of_the_skype_highlighting neutralized San Diego State on Saturday and led BYU to a 16-10 victory and sweep at Larry H. Miller Field.
Sloan retired the Aztecs in order in the seventh and struck out three SDSU batters in other late innings to help BYU improve to a 23-27 overall record and 10-11 in the Mountain West Conference.
With that victory, Sloan improves to 9-0 in the win-loss column, all in relief.
"All season long he (Sloan) has been a real force for us that we could count on," said BYU coach Vance Law. "It is nice to have him come in and throw some zeros to give us a chance to catch up."
Sloan entered the game behind 10-6 in the sixth with two runners on base. When he went to the dugout in the eighth, the score was tied 10-10.
Then Jonathan Cluff singled in Ryan Bernal for the go-ahead 11th run in the bottom of the six-run eighth before the floodgates opened. With the bases loaded, Alex Wolfe cleared them with his single to right field.
"With Wells (Stephen) on first, we've tried to train our players to always run hard and were able to force an extra run with a silent signal."
The game started after a scoreless opening inning and then the offensive fireworks began as the next five frames showcased runs by both teams and the Cougars.
The Aztecs manufacturing runs by Blair Moore in the second and Jomel Torres in the third, while the Cougars scored on a second-inning home run by Bernal followed in the third by Bernal’s run-producing walk with the bases full to bring Dane Nielsen home. BYU was unable to take the lead when Sean McNaughton left the bases loaded with a pop up to Aztec catcher Matt Parker to end the inning.
A defensive highlight during the third was produced by the Cougar infield. Wolfe took a two-hop grounder at first and not only got the force out at his base but also rifled the ball to Brandon Relf at second who tagged the advancing Aztec runner for the unconventional double play.
SDSU produced three runs in the fourth and fifth innings while BYU responded with four runs over the same span. BYU’s Austin Hall and Nielsen scored in the fourth after a Hall double and Nielsen triple, and Bryce Ayoso and Sean McNaughton added Cougar runs in the fifth powered by Ayoso and McNaughton doubles.
The Aztecs got out of the bottom of the fifth allowing only the two Cougar runs when a well-executed relay beat Cluff to third as he attempted a triple on his two-RBI smash to left center. The Cougars returned the favor in the top of the sixth to stop the Aztec scoring after two runs when a McNaughton-to-Relf-to-Ayoso relay from left gunned down Ryan O’Sullivan at the plate for the third out.
In his first full inning of relief as BYU’s third pitcher of the game, Sloan finally ended SDSU’s five-inning scoring run with a 1-2-3 seventh. The Cougars tied the game at 10-10 in the bottom-half of the inning when Relf singled home Hall. The damage may have been worse for SDSU but centerfielder Cory Vaughn threw out Nielsen trying to go to third on the play.
Sloan again shut down the Aztecs in the eighth, getting Moore looking for the third out with two runners on base.
BYU now readies to play Utah Valley University on Tuesday at 6 p.m., in the final home game of the season.
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