BYU baseball: Kansas sweeps Saturday doubleheader over BYU

By Ralph R. Zobell

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, Feb. 15 2014 8:48 p.m. MST

Kansas swept a doubleheader Saturday over BYU baseball Saturday, winning 2-0 and coming from behind in the 10th inning to win 11-10 at Peoria Stadium.

Tucker Tharp’s walk-off single in the 10th improved Kansas record to 3-0 as the Jayhawks came from behind.

After a tight 2-0 loss in game one Saturday, the Cougars seemed to rebound in the nightcap when they got a 4-0 lead through four innings.

“Our pen was disappointing today,” BYU coach Mike Littlewood said. “We didn’t get it done both games. To Lengal’s credit, that’s the most pitches he has thrown this spring or fall. We couldn’t shut the door. We had leadoff walks in several innings, so we basically gave them first base to start an inning (in the fourth, fifth and seventh). It’s tough to pitch from behind.

“Otherwise I’m pleased with the way we played. It’s a long haul in baseball. We have to come back ready. Luckily, we have a day off. We need a renewed approach and that day off is going to help.”

BYU took a 1-0 lead in the third inning of game two when Brennon Lund hit an infield single that glanced off the pitcher, who then threw wild to first. Parker Starr scored on the error, but Lund was tagged out rounding the turn at first.

The Cougars took a 4-0 lead in the fourth when its first four batters got hits, the first of which was Brock Whitney's ground-rule double bouncing over the 385 mark in right field. Kelton Caldwell singled in Whitney, who in turn was singled in by Dillon Robinson. Bret Lopez scored on Starr's sacrifice fly.

Kansas cut the lead in half in the bottom of the fourth when it doubled in front of the batter’s eye blue monster at 410-dead center and singled. That single to left field was by Ka’i Eldredge, son of former Cougar player/assistant coach “Boy” Eldredge.

The Cougars countered those two runs in the fifth when Lund scored off another pitcher error and Eric Urry tagged off Lopez’ sac fly to left field.

With a 6-2 lead, Arizona freshman Hayden Rogers was replaced on the mound by Michael Springer. Kansas tagged Springer for a pair of runs in the fifth, closing the score to 6-4.

The Jayhawks took a 7-6 lead in the sixth inning when Michael Suiter belted a three-run homer over the left field fence. A key hit in that inning was a one-out single that bounced high off the infield, and shortstop Hayden Nielsen had to wait on gravity but was not in time when he could make the throw.

BYU applied pressure in the seventh as Urry singled, and then took third on Whitney's single. Whitney advance to second on the throw with no outs.Caldwell tied the score, seven-all, on a sac fly.

Robinson's two-run gap double to left center with one out tied the score at 9-9 in the ninth. Lund gave BYU a 10-9 advantage off a Whitney sac fly in the 10th.

Sophomore Kolton Mahoney nearly got a strikeout every inning of game one and even used his hot glove to snag a comebacker in the fifth frame. He closed the third, fourth and fifth innings with swinging strikeouts.

Mahoney threw four pitches in sixth and got his glove up again for a hot liner from top of KU’s order to end the frame, tallying 58 pitches to that point. Mahoney didn’t throw one strike through the first four batters as the Jayhawks loaded the bases in the seventh and drove a run through with a Hernandez single up the middle for a 1-0 lead.

Mahoney got help from “a pitcher’s best friend,” when Robinson turned a 5-3 double play to end the seventh and his day with 72 pitches.

With two outs in the fifth of game one, Lund got beaned, Urry drew a full count walk and Whitney loaded the bases with four straight balls, setting the table for Caldwell who flew out to KU’s left fielder on the warning track.

Appearing in relief for the second day, KU’s Jordan Piche' showed why he is one of best stoppers in nation, getting a pair of strikeouts to set up for a save going into ninth of Saturday's opener.

The Cougars, 0-3, and Jayhawks close the four-game series Monday at the Mariner-Padre Peoria Stadium starting at 11 a.m.

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 ralph_zobell@byu.edu.

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