Nate Favero’s 3-for-4 appearance at the plate lifted BYU baseball as it never trailed in a 9-7 victory on Friday over San Francisco.
Favero’s two-run homer in the third and an RBI double in the ninth added to his 4-for-5 performance in the win to keep the Cougars’ West Coast Conference tourney hopes alive. BYU improved to 21-24 overall and 10-13 in the WCC, while the Dons dropped to 25-26 and 14-12.
Transfer Blake Inouye improved his record to 2-5 as the winning pitcher in relief, while freshman Drew Zimmerman earned his fourth save of the season as the Cougars responded time and again.
On Friday, three-consecutive hits in the second inning were capped by David Clawson’s two-run double down the right-field line, squeezing between the first baseman and his bag. Favero and Keaton Kringlen, who both advanced on a wild pitch after respective singles, scored on Clawson’s poke for a 2-0 lead. Clawson scored run number three when Casey Jacobsen grounded into a double play.
Favero’s two-out homer over the right-field ribbon on the net-enclosed Benedetti Diamond extended the lead to 5-0 in the third inning.
“I was lucky and got under it, and as soon as it came off the bat I knew it had a chance,” said Favero of his first homer of his senior season.
The Dons chased starter Hayden Rogers from the mound in the third after he hit two batters on bookends of a single, then walked in the first run. USF closed the gap to 5-3 by the end of the third frame as Inouye took over on the mound.
In the fifth, USF’s pitcher walked Brock Hale, then Favero with two outs, but Kringlen singled to left field to plate Hale for a 6-3 lead. The Dons responded with a leadoff homer by Ross Puskarich and needed Bo Burrup to relieve Inouye, aided by an inning-ending double play initiated by third baseman Jacobsen.
A back-to-back double and triple by Brennon Anderson and Daniel Schneemann, respectively, led off the seventh. Schneemann plated Anderson, then Hale singled in Schneemann to force a USF pitching change with an 8-4 lead.
The Dons countered with a run in the seventh, causing Burrup’s exit and Zimmerman to be the beneficiary of an inning-ending double play.
Michael Perri belted a two-out, two-run homer to left field in the eighth to bring the Dons within one, 8-7.
Favero doubled in Hale for the ninth run in the final frame.
Game three of the series at USF is Saturday at 1 p.m. PDT.