Freshman Kyle Dean’s three home runs lifted BYU to an 11-10 victory Thursday at Kansas, extending the Cougars’ record to 8-1.
Kansas, now 3-5, had a furious five-run rally in the ninth inning, which was finally quelled by junior reliever Keaton Cenatiempo who got the save. Cougar freshman Bo Burrup, now 2-0, was credited with the victory in relief.
“Today we faced adversity throughout the game and still found a way to win,” BYU coach Mike Littlewood said. “Mike Rucker wasn't real sharp, but he gutted it out and got us into the fourth inning. Bo (Burrup) was tremendous out of the pen, and the rest of the pen did enough to get us a victory. Kyle Dean had a special day and continues to pound the ball.”
Dean led BYU’s home run assault as the team’s five dingers sailed over three different walls. Those homers were part a 17-hit, 11-RBI, four-double barrage, as BYU battled back from a 3-0 deficit in the third inning.
The first of those belts was a two-run homer by Dean to dead center field over the batter’s eye at 400 feet. Dean’s blast closed the gap to 4-3 in the fourth.
Dean, who went 4-for-5 with five RBIs, knocked his second homer of the day, a solo shot to left in the seventh on a 3-1 count, for a 9-5 margin. Dean’s third round-tripper was the eventual game-winning RBI, another two-run homer in the ninth for an 11-5 lead.
Joining Dean in the home run parade were Eric Urry and Bronson Larsen. Urry stroked a two-run shot to right-center over 375 feet in the fifth, following a double in his previous at-bat.
Larsen broke out of his slump with a two-run homer to left for an 8-5 lead in the sixth inning, preceded by a leadoff double to the left field corner in the fifth frame.
“The bottom half of our lineup got 13 hits today and that's what makes this team different – our ability to put quality at-bats together one through nine,” Littlewood said.
The Cougars avoided disaster with two outs and the bases loaded in the eighth inning. They protected that 9-5 lead when Mason Marshall relieved Riley Gates, and Brennon Lund made a running stab to catch a fly in shallow center field.
Marshall was in line for his 12th career save when he loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth and was replaced by Cenatiempo.
Colton Shaver and Nate Favero each extended their current hitting streaks to seven games, with Favero having a leadoff double in the sixth.
Cougar starter Michael Rucker left the game after throwing 84 pitches and striking out five, all looking, in just more than three innings.
The two teams play the second of a three-game series on Friday afternoon in a contest that can be viewed live on ESPN3 or followed through links via BYU's website.
Ralph R. Zobell has worked for BYU Athletic Media Relations in various capacities for over 30 years. You can view his bio at byucougars.com/staff/athletics/ralph-zobell or contact him at [email protected].