UConn spoils BYU's comeback in ninth inning

Published on March 17, 2017 at 10:58PM

PROVO, Utah – Two runs in the top of the ninth erased BYU baseball’s late comeback as UConn won 8-7 on Friday night at Larry H. Miller Field.

“We saw pitchers tonight with really good stuff,” BYU head coach Mike Littlewood said. “When you see our guys swing and miss that much, it usually means the opposing pitching is really good. We need to see consistent results out of our bullpen. If we did, we would know which guys to send in for different situations.”

The Cougars (8-9) came back from a 5-2 deficit to lead 7-6 heading into the last frame. The Huskies (9-7) manufactured two runs to take the second game of the series.

Keaton Kringlen plated BYU’s first run in the bottom of the first inning with a single up the middle. That scored Daniel Schneemann, who reached on a walk and stole second base.

UConn responded with a walk and three singles in the top of the second frame for two runs and a 2-1 lead. The Cougars were helped out of the inning by David Clawson’s throw to second to thwart Chris Winkel’s steal attempt.

In the top of the third inning, Willy Yahn tripled to the left-center gap for the Huskies on a drive that appeared to be caught by a diving Kyle Dean. The ball came out of his glove, and the umpires ruled that Dean didn’t complete the transfer. Yahn came home on a groundout to second base for a 3-1 UConn lead.

BYU had its own triple in the bottom of the frame, as Brock Hale roped an outside pitch into the right-center gap. Kringlen brought him home on a hard grounder down the third baseline.

A pair of hits and a walk gave the Huskies two more runs in the top of the fifth and increased their lead to 5-2.

Clawson brought home Hale in the bottom of the sixth inning on a single to right field. Hale had singled up the middle and scored to cut the Cougars’ deficit to two runs.

After two outs and a single in the top of the seventh inning, starter Brady Corless was replaced by Rhett Parkinson. Parkinson balked and gave up a single for another UConn run. Mason Marshall was summoned from the pen to stop the bleeding.

Corless allowed nine hits and six earned runs over 6.2 innings.

Nate Favero smoked a triple to the right-center gap to lead off the bottom of the seventh inning. He scored on Brennon Anderson’s groundout to shortstop to make the score 6-4. Later in the frame, Hale, who singled, came home on a Bronson Larsen single and BYU was down one run.

Casey Jacobsen, who replaced Schneemann in the third inning, knocked in two runs on a bases-loaded single in the bottom of the eighth inning to bring home Dean and pinch runner Cam Richins. At 7-6, the Cougars led for the first time since the first inning.

Aaron Cross took the mound in the top of the ninth inning and allowed a double to Yahn. The next hitter, Zac Susi, singled up the middle to bring home Yahn and tie the game at 7-7. Riley Gates replaced Cross on the mound with one out, and Aaron Hill, pinch running for Susi, scored the deciding run from third base on a pass ball with two outs and a 2-2 count.

The rubber match between the two teams will be on Saturday at 1 p.m. MDT.​