Posted: Apr 05, 2018
PROVO, Utah – Santa Clara baseball (15-12, 4-6 WCC) allowed the walk-off run to score on an error in the bottom of the ninth inning to lose 2-1 in a heartbreaker to BYU (15-13, 4-6 WCC) in a West Coast Conference matchup on Thursday night.
In a 1-1 tie game with BYU's Brock Hale at third and one out in the ninth, Cougar leftfielder Keaton Kringlen hit a sharp grounder against Bronco reliever Eric Lex. With the Bronco infield playing in, second basement Austin Reyes dove to his right to cleanly field the ball but his throw to first was offline, getting away from first baseman Jake Brodt to allow Hale to score the winning run.
Hale led off the ninth with a double against Lex, who was pitching into his third inning of relief, over centerfielder John Cresto. Hale then advanced to third on Jake Brown's grounder before coming home on the error.
The two teams combined for just eight hits in a pitcher's duel.
Bronco starter Steven Wilson had a no-hitter through 5 2/3 innings before issuing a walk and back-to-back singles to exit the game with 93 pitches. The senior right-hander had retired 14 consecutive Cougar batters until the walk, including striking out five in a row. Wilson allowed just two hits, walked three and struck out a season-high eight batters over 5 2/3 innings.
BYU starter Jordan Wood went eight innings, scattering four hits and allowing a run while walking one.
Against such stellar pitching, the Broncos drew first blood in the fifth. Catcher Jake MacNichols (1-for-3, R) hit a one out double against Wood and moved to third on a Grant Meylan (1-for-3) grounder before coming home on a passed ball.
The Cougars evened the game in the sixth when Daniel Schneeman drew a walk against Wilson, who had retired 14 consecutive batters up to that point. Brian Hsu and Hale followed with back-to-back singles to tie the game up 1-1.
Three of the five Bronco hits were for doubles, however, Santa Clara was 0-10 with runners on and 0-5 with runners in scoring position for the game.
Drew Zimmerman (2-1) who got the last out in the top of the ninth was credited with the win while Lex (2-4) took the loss for the Broncos.
Joe Becht (1-for-4) extended his consecutive bases reached streak to 27 games with a leadoff single in the first.
With the weather concerns projected for Saturday in Provo, a doubleheader is scheduled for Friday at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. PT. Santa Clara will send right-handers Freddie Erlandson (3-0, 2.81 ERA) in game one and Penn Murfee (4-1, 1.74 ERA) in game two against Cougar lefty Hayden Rogers (4-2, 5.73 ERA) and righty Blake Inouye (1-3, 6.04 ERA).