Letting Up in Bunches

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Michael Baham

Staff Writer

 

San Francisco’s trip to Utah was an unsuccessful one. Though the Dons were able to consistently pump out a few runs, they just weren’t able to keep the Brigham Young (25-14, 14-4 WCC) offense in check. Over the three games USF was able to score six, five, and five runs respectively but they gave up nineteen, eight and eleven runs.

Thursday’s game against the Cougars was an absolute barnburner, well for the BYU offense anyway. Though San Francisco got a run up in the first inning, in the home-half the Cougars small-balled their way to a six spot. In the second and third inning BYU put up another three runs for a commanding 9-1 lead. USF was finally able to respond with two runs in the seventh inning but BYU came back and scored five runs in the bottom of the seventh and with another run previously in the fifth, BYU still had a comfortable 15-3 lead. With four more runs in the eighth, the Cougars took a 19-3 lead into the ninth and although the Dons scored three more runs the comeback was well short. There wasn’t a pitcher for USF who couldn’t keep runs off the board, Brigham Young hitters were probably seeing baseballs the size of cantaloupes when they were at the plate. Nico Giarratano and Dan James each had a pair of hits and Allen Smoot had one hit and reached base twice more via walks.

Friday’s game was a little more competitive. Once again the Dons started off the game with a run thanks to a Smoot double that brought in Matt Sinatro. In the second inning Harrison Bruce stole home after a wild pitch for their second run. BYU tied the game with one swing of the bat in the bottom of the second, a two-run homer for a two-two tie. Brigham Young took the lead in the bottom of the third but USF got it back in the fourth, 4-3. In the seventh inning another stroke of luck occurred as a Cougar pitcher balked and Aaron Ping, on third, leisurely jogged a free ninety feet to home. With a 5-3 lead, things were looking up but in the bottom of the eighth, but BYU bats and untimely San Francisco errors led to a five-run inning. Now with a 8-5 lead going into the ninth, the Cougar pitcher tossed a perfect ninth inning while striking out two to shut the door. Giarratano had himself a three-hit game and stole one base.

Unfortunately for San Francisco, the salvage game wasn’t anything more than the previous two games. Just like in the previous two games, USF took a quick 1-0 lead in the first and held onto the 1-0 lead until the third. That’s when the Cougar offense lit up the scoreboard and powered six runs, four of which came from two home runs. After packing on one more run in the seventh, USF was finally able to respond and scored three runs of their own to close the gap 4-7. With a four-run inning in the seventh, the Dons were again looking at an uphill battle with just six outs left to make something happen. In the ninth Bruce did single home a run, but the game finished up 11-5 in BYU’s favor. Riley Helland, Brady Bate, and Smoot all had two-hit games. Benji Post tossed 2.1 innings of clean relief and Joey Carney pitched 1.0 of his own.

Now with a 22-23, 7-14 WCC record, San Francisco finds them self in a manageable hole with eleven games remaining. Next up Pepperdine comes to visit Benedetti Diamond. Be sure to go out and support or follow live on theW.tv.

Photo: Dons Athletics/ Flickr

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