LUBBOCK, Texas — Coach Mike Littlewood opened the season with his first victory, a 9-0 BYU baseball win, followed by a 6-4 loss in a Friday doubleheader split with Northern Colorado.
The Cougars (1-1), rode the arm of junior right-hander Desmond Poulson who went the distance in the 9-0 victory when he struck out a career-high 10 batters on 115 pitches. BYU came up short in the nightcap as UNC (1-1) took a 5-0 lead before Littlewood’s charges rebounded with a four-run fifth inning.
“Desmond set the tone for us,” said Littlewood, who brought 181 Division one victories into his first game Friday at the BYU helm. “He’s in the best shape of anyone I’ve ever coached. He is a phenomenal athlete. He didn’t have good velocity, but he had a great pro outing.”
In the game one victory, Poulson retired three Bears each swinging in the third, tainted only by a two-out double by Dylan Banach. Seven of Poulson’s K’s came via swings, including the final batter of the game, and he fanned a pair of Bears looking in the fifth-inning behind a 1-0 lead.
That lead came in the fourth when Jaycob Brugman led off with a triple to right field and scored on a Brock Whitney sacrifice fly.
Law’s two-run single to right field extended the lead to 7-0 in the four-run eighth. BYU batted through its order that inning, tacking on a pair of runs from Whitney’s second RBI of the game and a wild pitch.
“I could sense we were ready to play and it was nice to get a run on the board,” Littlewood said. “I was proud of our hitters making adjustments, but we didn’t do that in game two.”
BYU generated four runs in the fifth inning of game two’s loss thanks to four consecutive one-out singles from Jarrett Jarvis, Hayden Nielsen, Jacob Hannemann and Adam Law.
Littlewood had high praise for Nielsen, who was one of five Cougar freshman on the field at the end of game two.
“Hayden (Nielsen) had a really good day,” Littlewood said. “We did a great job executing our offense in the first game, but came out flat for the second game.”
The Cougars squandered an opportunity in the seventh inning of game two when an intentional walk to Brugman loaded the bases with one out. Whitney’s fielder’s choice and a fly-out by Kelton Caldwell stalled that scoring threat. BYU surrendered six walks and hit five batters in the nightcap.
“I’m happy we got a win, but disappointed we got a split,” said Littlewood of his Cougar debut in the chilling 33-degree weather.
The Cougars conclude play Saturday in the Brooks Wallace Classic at Lubbock, Texas, playing Northern Illinois in the morning and host Texas Tech at 6 p.m. CST.
Ralph R. Zobell has worked for BYU Athletic Media Relations in various capacities for over 30 years. You can view his bio at http://byucougars.com/staff/athletics/ralph-zobell or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.