College roundup: Late rally lifts Oregon Ducks baseball over Utah Utes

Published: Saturday, March 24 2012 10:00 p.m. MDT

EUGENE, Ore. — The Utes couldn't hold on to a late lead, falling to Oregon, 5-3, on Saturday afternoon.

With the game tied at 2 after seven innings, the Utes took a 3-2 lead in the eighth. James Brooks was issued a one-out walk, followed by an infield single by Connor Eppard. After a pitching change by the Ducks, Shaun Cooper singled through the left side to give the Utes the lead.

Oregon (15-5, 3-2 Pac-12) would pull ahead in the bottom of the inning, leading off the inning with three-straight hits to score two runs. A third run would score on a sacrifice fly later in the inning, giving the Ducks a 5-3 lead.

The Utes (6-15, 3-2 Pac-12) failed to put anything together in the ninth inning.

Parker Morin went 2-for-4 to lead the Utes at the plate, driving in two of Utah's three runs.

Brock Duke pitched five innings, allowing two runs on three hits with three walks and two strikeouts. Tyler Wagner pitched the final three innings, surrendering three runs on five hits with three strikeouts. He earned the loss to fall to 1-4 on the year.

Both teams scored in the first inning. Morin had an RBI single for the Utes to drive in Eppard with two outs. The Ducks' Aaron Payne hit a one-out triple to deep right field and scored on a sacrifice fly.

Oregon took a 2-1 lead in the second inning, after Scott Heinemann hit a leadoff double and would end up scoring on a ground out.

The Utes tied the game at two in the sixth inning. Cooper was hit by the pitch with two outs, and Morin hit a double deep into the left field corner to score Cooper from first.

Oregon tried for the equalizer in the sixth by putting two on with one out, but Wagner got out of the inning.

The Utes and Ducks close out their three-game series on Sunday at 1 p.m. MT.

BYU BASEBALL: At Portland, Ore., clutch pitching and defense late in the game helped the Cougars secure a 10th-inning 7-4 victory Saturday afternoon over the University of Portland.

BYU (9-9) improves to 4-2 in the West Coast Conference battle for first place and several Cougars helped keep them there as they won the three-game series over the Pilots (14-5 overall, 1-2 WCC).

While three unearned runs in the 10th inning provided the BYU victory, the impetus started in the third inning when relief pitcher Desmond Poulson took the mound and promptly retired the Pilots in order. Poulson repeated that feat in the sixth and eighth innings. Among the seven Pilots fanned by Poulson were key strikeouts in the fifth, sixth and eighth frames.

While reliever Chris Howard got the win by virtue of throwing four pitches in two-thirds of the ninth inning and 5-foot-8 freshman Mason Marshall picked up his third save, Poulson's pitching helped keep the score knotted at four-all for the final five innings of regulation.

"Our pitchers kept us close and right in the ball game," said BYU coach Vance Law. "Our team has ground it out and they never give up, they weren't going to give in as long as our pitcher was keeping us in the game."

Three BYU defensive plays in the seventh and ninth innings extinguished Portland rallies.

The first came when right fielder Jaycob Brugman helped throw out Turner Gill at second as he tried to extend a single. Not to be outdone, two batters later teammate Stephen Wells made an over-the-shoulder catch to end the seventh with a runner on third base.

"Wells made an unbelievable play in center field," said Law. "Then Tanner Chaunceymade a heads-up play, knowing we couldn't make the double play at first base."

Freshman shortstop Chauncey touched second base for out number two off a slow roller, then faked to first before firing home to catch the Pilot runner in a ninth inning-ending pickle to complete one of three Cougar double plays.

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