BYU baseball: doubleheader wins of 8-2 and 4-2 provide Seattle sweep for BYU baseball

By Ralph R. Zobell

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, Feb. 28 2014 8:09 p.m. MST

Senior co-captain Brock Whitney and his teammates had field days in BYU baseball’s doubleheader sweep Friday over Seattle University, 8-2 and 4-2.

The Cougar batters outhit Seattle, 27-17, as rain fell throughout the day at BYU’s home away from home at Bruce Hurst Field. BYU improved to 4-8, while Seattle fell to 5-6 as play began an hour earlier to squeeze in the games between storms.

Whitney alertly scampered home for what would be the winning run in the third inning of the nightcap. After he had been hit by a pitch, Whitney went to third when Bret Lopez loaded the bases with a one-out walk that inning. Dillon Robinson hit into an eventual double play, but teammate Kelton Caldwell jockeyed long enough between second and third in the hot box so Whitney could score, putting BYU up 3-0.

Seattle scored twice in the fourth, but Whitney provided the insurance run with a two-out, high-bounding chopper past third to score Bronson Larsen in the sixth.

“In those first nine games we hadn’t been able to get a two-out hit,” BYU coach Mike Littlewood said.“Winning solves a lot of problems. It is really easy to pack it in, especially if things start not going your way. I really like the mentality of this week. It is so much better.”

Things kept going BYU’s way when co-captain Chris Howard provided timely spot relief from the mound in the seventh as the lefty struck out Cullen Hendrickson swinging on only three pitches. James Lengal and Brandon Kinser came through in matchups to pave the way for starter Jeff Barker to preserve his first win of the season. Kinser also earned the team’s first save in the nightcap.

BYU won the first game of the day, using “small-ball” as a catalyst to score six of its eight runs in the third inning as the rain increased and the Cougars batted around. Whitney made a diving snag off Ryan Somer’s grounder and beat him to first base for the out in the fifth when BYU had an 8-1 lead.

Second baseman Trace Hansen had six consecutive hits in the series before Seattle got him out in the seventh inning of game one. In that seventh frame, BYU catcher Jarrett Jarvis extended his team-leading hitting streak to 10 games. Sophomore hurler Kolton Mahoney recorded his first win of the season and closed his eight innings with called and swimming strikeouts in the 8-2 victory.

“Tip your hat to our team,” Littlewood said. “It’s hard to keep the mentality that you are going to play with rain delays. I love adversity. I don’t think it could get lower than it has been the past two weeks, knock on wood.”

BYU now opens its regular home season at Larry H. Miller Field in Provo on Tuesday in the first of four Deseret First Duel games with the University of Utah starting at 6 p.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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