PROVO — Despite a 11/2-hour rain delay, BYU took advantage of several two-out rallies to beat the Air Force Falcons 10-4 on Thursday night at Larry H. Miller Field.
With the victory, the Cougars improve to 16-12 overall and 4-3 in Mountain West Conference play. Air Force falls to 12-18 and 0-6 in the conference.
Senior Dane Nielsen went 2-for-2 with two walks and an RBI to go along with his three runs scored. Four other Cougars collected two hits apiece in route to the win. Relief pitcher Justin Shutt gave BYU 22?3 shutout innings to earn the win.
"We play 27 outs and never give in, even with two outs," head coach Vance Law said. "We've been able to push across some runs and I'm proud of our guys for that."
In the second inning, senior Ryan Bernal doubled to center and then advanced to third on a groundout. Bernal scored on a single from freshman Jaycob Brugman to give BYU a 1-0 lead.
After the first two Air Force batters reached base the next inning, Falcon third baseman Matt Thorne scored on a fielder's choice to even the score.
Nielsen led off the bottom half of the third with a line-drive double to left field. Later in the inning, Nielsen took third on a wild pitch and scored on an RBI groundout from senior Andrew Law to give the Cougars a 2-1 edge.
Bernal reached on a walk in the fourth inning and came home on a two-out triple to deep right field off the wall by junior Austin Hall. Hall scored on a single from Nielsen later in the inning to make it 4-1.
In the top of the sixth inning, the Falcons got the first two runners in scoring position on a walk and double to center. Air Force DH Seth Kline singled to right to score two runs and trim BYU's lead to one. The Falcons tied the score on a bunt-squeeze play later in the inning.
The Cougars didn't wait long to regain the lead, with Law driving in Nielsen for the go-ahead run in the bottom of the sixth inning. The next batter, junior Alex Wolfe, singled up the middle to score two more runs and give BYU a 7-4 advantage.
"That gave us a little of a push," Coach Law said. "We got some more after that and extended our lead."
Freshman Dillon Robinson helped gave the Cougars their eighth run with a single in the seventh. With two runners on, Stephen Wells roped a double down the right field line to score two more runs and open the lead up to 10-4.
Up next, BYU will play the second of a three-game series against the Falcons today at 6 p.m.
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