Opportune pitching and hitting helped BYU’s baseball team even its series with a 6-2 win at Portland on Friday.
Freshman Mitch McIntyre’s two-out single in the ninth plated Nate Favero for the first of three insurance runs, breaking a drought of six runners stranded in the final five innings.
A big boost for the Cougars came in the sixth inning when Portland loaded the bases with one out as Hayden Rogers (now 5-2) was replaced by Blake Inouye. The BYU reliever struck out the last two batters of the inning.
"I like Blake (Inouye) from the pen more than as a starter," BYU coach Mike Littlewood said. "We needed that from Blake today.
"We did a much better job today. I liked our overall approach. We drew a couple walks and got a couple key hits."
McIntyre led off the third with a double to left field and scored when Brian Hsu rolled a single up the middle to tie the game. Then, Brock Hale rocketed a double down the right-field line to plate Jarrett Perns for a 2-1 lead.
Hsu’s one-out double off the top of the left field wall drove in Brennon Anderson for a 3-2 lead in the fifth.
BYU stranded runners in scoring position several times, including when Hale hit a one-out double off the left-field wall to advance Hsu to third in the seventh and loading the bases in the eighth from three walks.
One of the several defensive BYU gems came when an alert catcher Noah Hill backed up an overthrow to first and fired to third to nab a runner and end the first inning. Rogers picked off the leadoff runner from first in the second. After a batted ball glanced off Rogers, shortstop Daniel Schneemann spun and whirled from shallow center field to peg the leadoff runner in the fourth.
BYU improved to 18-14 and 7-7 in the West Coast Conference. Portland is now 12-20 and 5-8.
Saturday’s rubber match starts at noon PDT.