SAN FRANCISCO — Pitcher Marc Oslund kept BYU in the game through eight innings until his teammates completed a 2-1 victory Friday over the University of San Francisco.
BYU (18-16, 7-4) remains in second place in the West Coast Conference, one game behind No. 16 San Diego, in evening the series at USF (20-26, 7-7).
Oslund, who improved to 4-0, retired the Dons in order in the first three innings as he took a no-hitter deep into the fourth frame. USF’s highly touted hurler, Kyle Zimmer, surrendered a lead-off home run to Dillon Robinson in the fifth.
“Zimmer is the real deal, BYU coach Vance Law said of the Don ace who was being evaluated by many scouts on hand to witness his 10 strikeouts. “He has a great breaking pitch and kept us off-balance with his change.”
Robinson’s homer, only the second of BYU’s season, was three-quarters up the right-field netting and gave the Cougars a 1-0 lead.
“He (Robinson) is now starting to swing the way he is capable,” Law said.
USF tied the game with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fifth, but Oslund continued to battle as he recorded three of his six strikeouts in the seventh and eighth frames.
“Oslund pitched a masterful game,” Law said. “He is starting to get better velocity. He’s always been able to get his curve ball over. He’s a very emotional player and a good leader. He does not like to lose and is giving it his all every pitch. I’m thrilled for him, he’s very deserving.”
The Cougars threatened several times in the game, including having bases loaded for naught in the second inning.
In the eighth inning, USF benefited from an inning-ending double play when Austin Hall struck out as Jaycob Brugman was stealing second base. Brugman was ruled out because of batter interference.
The stalemate ended in the ninth when BYU’s Kelton Caldwell fisted a one-out double to left field off USF relieving ace Elliott Waterman (3-1). Caldwell moved up to third on an errant pickoff move and scored the winning run on Brock Whitney’s sacrifice fly.
That paved the way for Mason Marshall to get his eighth save of the season in the ninth, retiring the Dons in order, thanks to a 6-4-3 double play.
The rubber match of the three-game series between the Dons and Cougars will be Saturday afternoon.
Ralph R. Zobell has worked for BYU Athletic Media Relations in various capacities for more than 30 years. You can view his bio at http://byucougars.com/staff/athletics/ralph-zobell or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.