SAN DIEGO — Trey Nielsen had a monster day at the plate with seven RBIs while Rick Anton pitched a solid game on the mound as the Utah baseball team defeated San Diego State, 7-3, to open the Mountain West Conference tournament on Wednesday afternoon.
In the seventh inning with Utah holding a 3-2 lead, Nielsen came to the plate with the bases loaded and broke the game open with a shot over the left field fence. This followed a three-RBI double in the first inning that put Utah on the board, 3-0.
Nielsen's seven RBI ties for the second-most in a MWC tournament game.
Rick Anton held off the Aztec bats, allowing two runs on six hits through eight innings. He struck out seven and earned the win to raise his record to 9-1 on the year. SDSU was forced into leaving runners on base in all but one inning.
BYU 5, UNLV 1: Right-hander Taylor Cole of Las Vegas helped eliminate UNLV from the Mountain West Conference Baseball Tournament. The sophomore from Las Vegas struck out five Rebels and walked none through 7 2/3 innings.
BYU (30-26) remained alive to advance to Thursday's noon game. The winner of that game plays again at 4 p.m.
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"Taylor's (Cole) fastball got better as the game went on," said BYU coach Vance Law. "There were a couple of key plays, Dillon Robinson dove left and turned a double play along with the ball Wells (Stephen) ran down to keep the game tight."
Robinson went to his knees and recovered to turn 5-4-3 double play in fourth when the score was tied 1-1. Wells made cartwheel diving catch to end sixth to protect a slim 2-1 BYU lead. In the sixth it looked like a three-up-down inning like the first and third, but the ball Cole caught in webbing of his glove got stuck and he was saved by Wells' grab.
Mountain West Conference
At San Diego
BYU vs. SDSU, noon
TCU vs. BYU/SDSU, 4 p.m.
Utah vs. New Mexico, 8 p.m.