Pitchers Jeff Barker and Brandon Kinser combined for a 1-0 BYU upset Thursday over league-leading No. 24 Pepperdine.
With the help of several Cougar teammates, Barker and Kinser staved off the Waves, posting their second shutout in a row.
While Barker struck out six Wave batters and gave up three hits in 7 1/3 innings, he did not get the win which went to Kinser, who is now 3-2. Kinser sealed the win, striking out Pepperdine batters for the first and third outs in the ninth.
Kinser entered the eighth with runners on first and second, and then enticed Aaron Brown to line into an inning-ending double play. When Kinser took the mound again in the ninth, he had the lead.
BYU freshman Brennon Lund led off the ninth getting hit by a pitch. Lund ended up on third with the bases loaded and one out following consecutive singles by Dillon Robinson and Brock Whitney. Lund scored the game-winning run when Kelton Caldwell flew out deep to right field for a sacrifice.
Pepperdine fell to 25-8 and 10-3 in the West Coast Conference, while BYU improved to 14-21 and 5-8 in the league.
“Both teams did a good job,” BYU coach Mike Littlewood said. “I can’t say enough about what Jeff (Barker) did. Our goal has been timely hitting, playing catch and throwing strikes, that's just what we did.”
The Cougars were not able to cash in on earlier on opportunities in the first, third, sixth, seventh and eighth innings. Lund led off with a single to extend his hitting streak to nine games but was picked off first base in the first inning.
Parker Starr hit a one-out single and stole second where he was stranded in the third. In the fourth inning, Eric Urry led off with a single but was thrown out on an inning-ending double play. Starr got his second single of the game in the sixth, advanced to second on Hayden Nielsen's sac-bunt, but Urry lined out to first to end that frame.
Whitney extended his hitting streak to 11 games in the seventh but was stranded after that one-out single. Nielsen got a two-out single in the eighth but was caught stealing second.
Pepperdine threatened in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, getting runners on first and second each time. The Cougar defense and Barker rallied to quell the Waves, including an inning-ending strikeout in the fifth, fanning his fifth batter of the game. Starr turned an inning-ending double play in the sixth. Nielsen caught the liner in the eighth and tagged out a gambling Austin Davidson.
“Everything was working today,” Barker said. “It was awesome. It seems like we are on a roll and we need to take advantage of this momentum.”
The BYU-Pepperdine series continues with game two on Friday at 3 p.m. and ends Saturday at 1 p.m. PDT.
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.