CEDAR CITY — Taylor Shaw became the second player to hit for the cycle for in Southern Utah history Thursday, leading the Thunderbirds to a 17-12 victory over Oakland University.
Shaw started the scoring off for the Thunderbirds with a solo shot to right centerfield in the bottom of the first. The sophomore designated hitter then singled in his next at bat and drew a walk in the third.
His double down the left field line in the fifth put everyone at notice that he was just a triple away from the feat. Shaw then grounded out in the sixth, but still drove in a run on the play. As he stepped to the plate in the bottom of the eighth it was apparent that this might be his final at bat and last chance to cement his name in the SUU record books.
Shaw hit a towering shot towards left center where the Oakland outfielder charged the ball and made a last second dive in an attempt to make the play but the ball just missed his glove and bounced to the wall allowing Shaw to reach third.
Shaw's wasn't the only hot bat in the game however as seven different Thunderbirds recorded a hit on the day and the team combined for 19 base-knocks overall.
Southern Utah starter James Crockett was solid through the first three innings, holding the Oakland offense scoreless while giving up just three hits. Things began to unravel in the fourth however as the
Grizzlies recorded hit after hit to put together a tremendous rally.
The senior lefty gave up a total of seven runs on eight hits in the inning as the game changed from a shutout to a shootout at 8-7.
"We're a young team," SUU coach Dave Eldredge said. "There are innings where we boot a ground ball, then balk in a run, and it turns into a big inning."
Six different pitchers saw time on the mound for SUU, as Coach Eldredge knew that his offense would have to carry the team to a win.
"It's a strategy," Eldredge said. "You hope that your starter can give you six good innings and then you go one pitcher each inning for the final three. Right now we have a lot of guys who can give us one good inning, and if you leave them in there longer than that it's a risk."
Jesse Hartle picked up his second win in relief this season to help Southern Utah improve to 9-12 in league play, and 21-26 on the year.
Mark Leichtman took the loss for Oakland who is now 6-15 in the Summit League, and 14-28 overall.
The two teams will meet again Friday in a doubleheader scheduled to begin at noon. They will then wrap things up with a final game Saturday at 1 p.m. for Senior Day.
SAN DIEGO STATE 14, BYU 6: At San Diego, a slim BYU lead vanished in the nine-run fourth as San Diego State's baseball team ignited Thursday night.
The Aztecs, now 18-32 overall and 8-11 in the Mountain West Conference, took the initial lead on a balk in the second inning.
Then Jaycob Brugman golfed a curve for a two-run, two-out homer in the fourth to give BYU a brief 2-1 lead. Brugman's homer scored Dane Nielsen who picked up the Cougars's first hit of the game just prior to the dinger.
"They exploded on us and with two outs we just didn't make a play that would stop the bleeding," said BYU coach Vance Law. "It was one of those games that boils down to the one inning that we needed to minimize. I was proud of the way we battled back."
Brugman drove in the first of BYU's two runs in the fifth to close the deficit to 10-4.
BYU, now 25-23 and 7-10, plays game two of the series on Friday night in San Diego.
UTAH VALLEY 6, HOUSTON BAPTIST 5: At Orem, UVU survived a late comeback by Houston Baptist to win the opener of a four-game series at Brent Brown Ballpark.
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