RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Host UC Riverside won the baseball season opener, 5-0, and BYU won Game 2 of the Friday doubleheader, 6-2.
BYU rebounded from a 1-0 first-inning setback in the nightcap to take leads of 2-1 in the second, 3-1 in the third, 4-2 in the fourth , 5-2 in the fifth and 6-2 in the eighth.
BYU centerfielder Stephen Wells had consecutive RBI doubles in the second and fourth inning to key those rallies. Brock Whitney got the game-winning RBI in the third with a single to left field and Kelton Caldwell drove in the fourth run in the fifth off a fielder’s choice. Wells and Alex Wolfe extended their hitting streaks to 11 and six consecutive games, respectively.
Cougar freshman Dakota Hernandez replaced an injured catcher Wes Guenther with one out in the bottom of the sixth. He scored in the eighth when his cousin, Jaycob Brugman, hit a one-out triple to left field to put BYU up 6-2.
Riverside hometown product Dylan Stuart threw 112 pitches in the complete game in the season opener for UC Riverside. Despite BYU right-handed junior Chris Capper striking out seven Highlanders in the first five innings, the 4-0 deficit from the third inning took its toll.
Capper, fellow junior Mark Anderson and freshman Mason Marshall, who were coached or recruited by former BYU pitching coach Bobby Applegate, had impressive moments. Applegate switched to UC Riverside last fall as the Highlander pitching coach. Anderson got the win in game two with 85 pitches with six strikeouts in as many innings and Marshall was credited with a save for the final three innings.
In Game 1, BYU had runners on the corners in the first inning, but were unable to put together any of its five hits in the same inning. Unlike the first game, the Cougars belted three hits in the second, and a pair in the third, fourth and eighth innings in the nightcap.
The rubber match of the three-game series starts Saturday at noon PST.
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 [email protected].