RENO, Nev. — Right-hander Chris Capper got his first win of the season, leading BYU baseball to a 4-3 victory Thursday afternoon over the University of Nevada.
The Cougars (11-9) got their first win in 31 years at Reno as the Wolf Pack (13-11) fell victim to Capper and BYU reliever Marshall. Marshall bagged his fifth save, his third in as many games, as BYU won its third straight and ended Nevada's three-game winning streak.
Capper and Marshall got strategic defensive and hitting support from their teammates. Two of those defensive gems were double plays from substitute second baseman Adam Law. The sophomore Law is normally the starter, but came off the bench in the eighth just before Marshall entered the game with a 4-2 lead.
Marshall enticed pinch-hitter Tommy Niebergall into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play in the eighth. In the ninth, Marshall had just given up his first earned run of the year when Brooks Klein singled. But Klein was tagged out when his teammate fouled to first baseman Brock Whitney in the game-ending F3-4 double play as Law circled in behind him at first.
"Adam sneaked in behind him and Capper pitched well again, battling out of a big jam in the second and got out unscathed," BYU coach Vance Law said.
In that second inning Nevada had runners on the corners with no one out and a 2-1 lead from a two-run home by Carlos Escobar. The second inning ended on a 3-5-2 out at the plate and a pop-up to shortstop with two Wolf Pack runners left on base.
BYU had taken a 1-0 lead earlier in the second when Whitney led off with a double in the second, and scored off Kelton Caldwell's single. Right fielder Jaycob Brugman picked up his sixth assist of the season when he threw out a Wolf Pack runner at the plate in the first inning. The Cougars tied the score at two-all in the third when Wes Guenther tripled inTanner Chauncey, who had doubled.
Guenther got the game-winning RBI in the two-run seventh when he singled to second base, scoring Chauncey to extend BYU's lead to 4-2. Nevada coach Gary Powers lamented that seventh inning when Kelton Caldwell and Bret Lopez both got on base after being hit by relief pitches on counts of 2-2 and 1-2, respectively.
"We finally got enough runs to get Capper his win," Coach Law said. "All four of our runs came after we had two outs. Our two-out RBI are big for us. I'm proud we competed at the plate. Marshall is a guy that can bounce back almost on a daily basis."
The two teams square off Friday afternoon in the second of a three-game series.
UVU, SUU BASEBALL: At Orem, Utah Valley University tied a school record as six different players homered in a series-opening 17-7 win over Southern Utah on Thursday night at Brent Brown Ballpark.
Alex Exon's three-run home run to left center broke a 7-7 tie in the fifth and put the Wolverines (10-11) up for good to clinch UVU's third straight win.
"It was a good day. Our guys have put in a lot of work this week and I was really pleased with the way we swung the bat," said UVU head coach Eric Madsen. "We've been doing a more consistent job as of late. We've got guys that will hit the ball out of the park, we just have to stay within our approach and that can happen."
Goose Kallunki got things started in the second inning with a big blast to left center and three batters later, Cole Butcher hit his first collegiate home run on the first pitch he saw to bring home two more and make 4-0. Jake Rickenbach's solo shot later in the inning gave UVU a 5-0 lead.
Southern Utah got a pair of home runs in a three-run third and followed that with three more in the fourth to take the lead. In the fourth, David Ricker hit his second two-run homer in as many innings to give the Thunderbirds (6-18) a 6-5 lead.
SUU led 7-5 entering the bottom of the fifth when the Wolverines used a two-out rally to take control of the game. With two down and the bases empty, two walks and a hit batter loaded the bases. A wild pitch made it a one-run game and Kai Hatch's infield single tied it 7-7 before Exon's home run to left center gave Utah Valley a 10-7 lead.
The Wolverines extended it in the sixth, again using the long ball to put three more on the board. Jordy Hart led off with is first collegiate home run and Sean Moysh made it 13-7 two batters later with the team's sixth round-tripper of the night.
In the seventh, UVU stretched it to a 10-run lead with for more runs, getting back-to-back triples from Hart and Rickenbach and a double from Moysh in the frame.
Rickenbach led the way with three hits and two RBIs while Moysh and Exon both drove in three runs. Four other players had two hits each.
Taylor Mangum threw 3.0 innings in relief and struck out four to earn the win on the mound. Josh Swenson and Kole Mickolio also threw scoreless innings to close out the game.
Game 2 of the series is set for Friday at 6 p.m. and can be heard live on 960 AM the Zone.
UTAH SOFTBALL: At Pocatello, three different Utes turned in three hits apiece as the Utes earned their sixth consecutive nonconference win with a 10-2 victory at Idaho State in the first-ever game at ISU's Miller Ranch Stadium.
Utah (23-8, 0-3 Pac-12) improved to 23-5 this season in nonconference tilts and is now 3-4 in true road games in 2012. The Utes outhit the Bengals, 12-4, and turned in their sixth error-free effort in their last eight games and are 5-3 in those contests. Utah has not committed an error in 12 games this season and the Utes are 9-3 in those games.
Junior outfielder Katelyn Elliott, junior second baseman Jackie Sweet and senior outfielder Hannah Clements each registered three hits in three at-bats. Elliott now has recorded a hit in each of her last seven games.
Clements drove in four runs, Sweet had a pair of RBI and Elliott also drove in one run. Senior first baseman Tia Palauni also had a hit and an RBI.
In her 25th start of the year, senior Generra Nielson picked up the win and threw 4.0 innings, while allowing two earned runs on four hits to go with three strikeouts and one walk. With three batters struck out, Nielson now has 203 hits this season and eclipsed the 400-strikeout mark for her two-year career at Utah. Nielson has struck out 401 hitters as a Ute and improved to 17-6 in pitching decisions this season and is 38-18 over her career.
WEBER STATE SOFTBALL: At Ogden, the Wildcats wrapped up their pre-conference schedule by splitting a twinbill with the University of Nevada on Thursday afternoon.
The Wildcats rallied from an 0-3 deficit to take a 5-3 victory over the Wolf Pack in the first game of the day, and then fell 7-1 in the second contest at Wildcat Softball Field.
Senior centerfielder Erika Dixon went 3-of-7 at the plate across the two games, with a three RBI triple during the Wildcats' fourth-inning rally in the first contest.
"(Nevada) came out and got ahead right away, and we acted like it didn't even happen," Dixon said. "We came out hitting and came up with the clutch hits when we needed them. It was exciting for our team.
"Our defense played really well today," Dixon said. "There were a few times they were hitting the gaps, and we adjusted and made those plays for our pitcher when she needed it."
Freshman Janel Cunningham, splitting time between catcher and designated player, also had three hits in five at-bats on the afternoon.
Senior right hander Sarah Clark (9-6) earned the first game win, giving up just six hits in going the complete game. The Springville, Utah-native also had two hits and reached base after being hit by a pitch.
"We are right where we want to be," Weber State coach Tina Johnson said. "This team has a good feel right now and we really are doing OK."
Nevada took a 3-0 lead in the first game, scoring runs in the second, third and fourth innings, but Weber State bounced back quickly.
After senior third baseman Lyndsey Minnich reached on an error, the Wildcats found themselves in a difficult spot after it was ruled that freshman Kaitlin Anderson made an illegal appearance in the batting order, where she had replaced Cunningham. After a lengthy conference between the umpires, Anderson was ruled out.
The break, however, jolted the Wildcats' bats to life as sophomore Brooke Silva hit a double and then Clark was hit by a pitch to load the bases with just one out. Freshman Cydnee Clarke was walked on a full count to make it 3-1. After a flyout to left field, London Clarke hit an infield single to bring score Silva and again load the bases, setting the stage for Dixon's left-liner triple to the fence to clear the bases and put Weber State in front 5-3.
The Wildcats' defense stifled the Wolf Pack the rest of the way, holding Nevada to just two hits over the final three innings to secure their 11th win of the season.
Nevada jumped ahead 1-0 in in the second game, and opened up a 6-0 lead after a five-run third inning.
Weber State scored its lone run of the game in the third inning when Minnich hit an RBI single to center field to score Dixon.
The Wildcats will take an 11-18 record into Saturday's PCSC opener at Northern Colorado, the best non-conference record for Weber State since restarting the softball program in 2010.
"We have been waiting for this all year," Dixon said. "We are excited because we are ready. We are going to lay off the pitches that aren't ours, and crush the ones that come into our zone."
First pitch of the four-game series with the Bears is set for 2 p.m. on Saturday in Greeley, Colo.
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