In the thick of what has become an eminently confusing WAC baseball race, BYU coach Gary Pullins is trying to figure his (and everyone else's) team out. Hawaii looked shaky for awhile, but has since shot to the top of the standings. Utah threatened early, but fell apart for a couple of weeks. San Diego State still has a chance to win the regular-season title.
Meanwhile, Pullins' Cougars struggled through the first game of Friday's doubleheader against Air Force, taking two extra innings before claiming a 6-5 victory. Then came the nightcap, which was a colossal snooze. The Cougars scored five runs in the first inning to cruise to a 16-3 win.Pullins has no idea what to expect.
"It's so crazy," said Pullins. "That's why baseball drives you nuts. We just couldn't get something going the first game. Then in the second game we go up 16-0 and I can't believe it got away so fast."
Speaking of things getting away, Air Force pitcher Jon Mosier saw his win-loss record go from good to ordinary in one hour. Friday morning he had a fine 6-4 record. But by the time the day was over, it had fallen to 6-6. He took two - count 'em - two losses in the same day.
Mosier came on in the sixth inning of the first game with the Falcons leading 5-3, only to let the Cougars work back to a tie and make himself the pitcher of record and the loser when Randy Wilstead hit a homer in the last of the ninth. Then he started and lost the second game.
In the late game, Bruce Ellis, who had three hits, keyed the BYU first with a two-run single. By the time the Cougars had built their lead to 13-0, Afenir smashed his second homer of the day, a three-run blast in the fourth.
With the outcome never in doubt, the Cougars entertained themselves in the late going when relief pitcher Bart Grubbs came on in the sixth. Grubbs came to bat in the bottom half of the inning, hoping to protect his perfect batting average (1-for-1). To the roaring approval of his teammates - who had congregated on the dugout steps - he lined a single to right.
But as his hitting took off, his pitching went downhill. Grubbs was tagged for three Falcon runs in the seventh, thanks to two straight home runs.
The victories moved BYU to 36-12 overall and 14-5 in the WAC, a half-game back of Hawaii, at 15-5. Air Force, 8-10 in the WAC and 21-23 overall, is struggling to make the four-team conference playoffs.
Hawaii leads the league, followed by BYU, San Diego State (11-5), Wyoming (10-10), Air Force, Utah (8-11), New Mexico (4-14) and CSU (3-13).
The clubs resume play at 1 p.m. today at Cougar Field in another doubleheader.
Utah 12, New Mexico 7
Utah 7, New Mexico 3
Lance Madsen tied a Utah record by slamming three home runs in one game lifting the Utes to a 12-7 WAC victory against New Mexico in the second game of their doubleheader. The Utes earned the sweep by winning the first game 7-3.
Including Madsen's heroics, the Utes hit seven round-trippers in the second game, two coming from catcher Rob Beck with rightfielder Steve Sigloch and shortstop Mike Aranzullo adding one apiece.
In the first game, pitcher Craig Sudbury threw a complete game six-hitter for his sixth win of the season. First baseman Brett Alvey hit his second homer of the year, a two-run shot in Utah's four-run second inning.
The two teams complete the four-game series today beginning at noon at Ute Field.