RENO, Nev. — Right-hander Chris Capper got his first win of the season, leading BYU baseball to a 4-3 victory Thursday afternoon over the University of Nevada.
The Cougars (11-9) got their first win in 31 years at Reno as the Wolf Pack (13-11) fell victim to Capper and BYU reliever Marshall. Marshall bagged his fifth save, his third in as many games, as BYU won its third straight and ended Nevada's three-game winning streak.
Capper and Marshall got strategic defensive and hitting support from their teammates. Two of those defensive gems were double plays from substitute second baseman Adam Law. The sophomore Law is normally the starter, but came off the bench in the eighth just before Marshall entered the game with a 4-2 lead.
Marshall enticed pinch-hitter Tommy Niebergall into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play in the eighth. In the ninth, Marshall had just given up his first earned run of the year when Brooks Klein singled. But Klein was tagged out when his teammate fouled to first baseman Brock Whitney in the game-ending F3-4 double play as Law circled in behind him at first.
"Adam sneaked in behind him and Capper pitched well again, battling out of a big jam in the second and got out unscathed," BYU coach Vance Law said.
In that second inning Nevada had runners on the corners with no one out and a 2-1 lead from a two-run home by Carlos Escobar. The second inning ended on a 3-5-2 out at the plate and a pop-up to shortstop with two Wolf Pack runners left on base.
BYU had taken a 1-0 lead earlier in the second when Whitney led off with a double in the second, and scored off Kelton Caldwell's single. Right fielder Jaycob Brugman picked up his sixth assist of the season when he threw out a Wolf Pack runner at the plate in the first inning. The Cougars tied the score at two-all in the third when Wes Guenther tripled inTanner Chauncey, who had doubled.
Guenther got the game-winning RBI in the two-run seventh when he singled to second base, scoring Chauncey to extend BYU's lead to 4-2. Nevada coach Gary Powers lamented that seventh inning when Kelton Caldwell and Bret Lopez both got on base after being hit by relief pitches on counts of 2-2 and 1-2, respectively.
"We finally got enough runs to get Capper his win," Coach Law said. "All four of our runs came after we had two outs. Our two-out RBI are big for us. I'm proud we competed at the plate. Marshall is a guy that can bounce back almost on a daily basis."
The two teams square off Friday afternoon in the second of a three-game series.
UVU, SUU BASEBALL: At Orem, Utah Valley University tied a school record as six different players homered in a series-opening 17-7 win over Southern Utah on Thursday night at Brent Brown Ballpark.
Alex Exon's three-run home run to left center broke a 7-7 tie in the fifth and put the Wolverines (10-11) up for good to clinch UVU's third straight win.
"It was a good day. Our guys have put in a lot of work this week and I was really pleased with the way we swung the bat," said UVU head coach Eric Madsen. "We've been doing a more consistent job as of late. We've got guys that will hit the ball out of the park, we just have to stay within our approach and that can happen."
Goose Kallunki got things started in the second inning with a big blast to left center and three batters later, Cole Butcher hit his first collegiate home run on the first pitch he saw to bring home two more and make 4-0. Jake Rickenbach's solo shot later in the inning gave UVU a 5-0 lead.
Southern Utah got a pair of home runs in a three-run third and followed that with three more in the fourth to take the lead. In the fourth, David Ricker hit his second two-run homer in as many innings to give the Thunderbirds (6-18) a 6-5 lead.
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