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BYU sweeps baseball doubleheader in Seattle

By Ralph R. Zobell

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, April 13 2012 11:50 a.m. MDT

SEATTLE — Two-out rallies by BYU in both games of Thursday’s baseball doubleheader led to a Cougar sweep over Seattle University, 6-3 and 9-3.

BYU (16-12) took the lead in the four-game series and a 3-1 advantage with two games remaining with the Redhawks (15-14) in Seattle.

Wes Guenther got RBI singles in both games, but his third-inning poke through the right side was the game-winner in the opener. That run Guenther produced in game one was the only one of six runs that did not score after two outs.

"Our offense banged out some clutch hits that were critical and put a damper on them," BYU coach Vance Law said. "When we have multiple, multiple-run innings, that is big."

The Cougars took a 3-0 lead after the first inning of game one, thanks to five consecutive singles, which scored Brock Whitney, Jaycob Brugman and Austin Hall.

Brugman helped increase that lead to 5-0 in the second when he followed a lead-off single by Stephen Wells with a double of his own that scored Guenther. Those hits chased Redhawks starter Brandon Kizer off the mound. Kizer had been the winning pitcher when he stymied the Cougars in a 2-1 victory last month in Provo.

In the eighth, BYU loaded the bases but only scored one run off Andrew Law’s sacrifice fly.

The early runs gave confidence to BYU starting pitcher Chris Capper, who earned his third victory of the season against four losses. Capper escaped jams in the second and sixth innings with men on the corners and a runner on third in the fifth, which accounted for some of the dozen runners stranded by Seattle in game one.

Capper helped himself by closing the first-inning threat with a pickoff at first base. His battery-mate Guenther threw out a Redhawk trying to steal second in the second. Capper was relieved by Tyler Westensee in the seventh and Chris Howard in the eighth. Howard gathered strength to finish the ninth from a 543 double play.

"We got good pitching performances by Capper, Howard, (Marc) Oslund, (David) Parry and (Adam) Miller," coach Law said. "Capper was not as sharp as usual, but he continued to compete. Oslund pitched well to give us seven solid innings, which was outstanding. We were happy to get Miller acclimated again."

In the nightcap, back-to-back doubles, both down the right-field line, by Kelton Caldwell and Dillon Robinson in the fifth inning produced a 5-2 lead. Then with two outs, Guenther added another RBI double in the fifth, which took SU’s second pitcher off the hill with the Cougars leading 6-2.

That lead was enough to secure the victory for BYU sophomore Marc Oslund, who improved to 3-0 following his first start of the season.

"We did not get batting practice because of the rain and tarped field, but the guys are playing hard and not giving up," Law said. "Our at-bats were very solid. Hall swung the bat well. We were glad to get Alex (Wolfe) behind the plate catching again."

Friday’s game will be at 6 p.m. at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma before returning to Bannerwood Park for Saturday afternoon’s finale.

Ralph R. Zobell has worked for BYU Athletic Media Relations in various capacities for more than 30 years. You can view his bio at http://byucougars.com/staff/athletics/ralph-zobell or contact him at ralph_zobell@byu.edu.

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