PROVO — After winning the first game of the three-game series with Loyola Marymount 7-2 on Thursday, BYU fell to the Lions 3-2 in West Coast Conference baseball action on a chilly Friday night.
BYU’s pitching was a bit of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in the defeat.
On the positive side, BYU’s hurlers battled and got out of numerous jams, leaving 13 Lion hitters stranded in the contest.
On the other hand, Cougar pitchers walked eight batters, hit one and had three wild pitches.
The difference in the game came early in the contest when the Lions scored a run without a benefit of a hit or even a ball put in play.
LMU plated its first run in the second inning when Zach Fujimoto walked and advanced on a wild pitch.
Later in the inning Cougar starter Mark Anderson had Fujimoto picked off. The Lion center fielder didn’t even attempt to get back to second but Anderson’s throw to the base was poor and the speedy Fujimoto was able to advance to third.
On the very next pitch, Anderson threw his second wild pitch of the inning and Fujimoto scored to give LMU a 1-0 lead.
The Lions added another run in the third when Colton Plaia’s double scored Cullen Mahoney, who walked right before him.
That was enough for Cougar head coach Vance Law, who removed Anderson after 2 1/3 innings of work.
The base on balls has definitely been a problem that has perplexed Law this season.
“I would have never of thought we would have had this problem going into the season,” said the Cougar skipper. “We’ve had a lot of games with six to eight walks. We struggled tonight throwing strikes, but we can’t give up on these guys.”
BYU trimmed the Lion lead to 2-1 when Jaycob Brugman singled to score Alex Wolfe. Wolfe, more known for his power than speed, legged out a stolen base to set up Brugman, who actually advanced to second base on the hit because of an error by the Lion left fielder Matt Lowenstein.
Unfortunately, the Cougar rally stopped there, as Lion starter Trevor Megill worked out of the jam.
Megill was the star of the game, as he worked into the seventh inning, giving up just four hits and striking out seven.
The LMU freshman actually graduated high school in December to join the Lion squad, and he located his fastball, which topped out at 90 mph in the cool night air, very well.
His performance didn’t go unnoticed by Law.
“He (Megill) did a real nice job keeping us off balance,” Law said.
Megill did tire and was lifted with two outs in the seventh.
Both teams scored one run in the seventh frame, but BYU could not get to Megill’s replacement, Ryan Hawthorne, who left two Cougar runners stranded.
The eighth inning went quietly, as did the top half of the ninth for the Lion hitters.
BYU made one last effort to extend or win the game as Dillon Robinson reached on a walk with one out.
Robinson was lifted for a pinch runner and Adam Hall reached second on a wild pitch by Bret Dahlson, who entered the game to close it out for the Lions.
Adam Law then walked and the Cougars had the winning run on base.
But Dahlson settled down and struck out Cougar leadoff hitter Stephen Wells and then coaxed a lazy fly ball to right field out of Tanner Chauncey to end the game.
The win evened up LMU’s record at 13-13 overall and 4-1 in WCC play while the Cougars fell to 13-12, 5-3.
The two teams will square off tomorrow at noon in the rubber match. The softball team hosts Hawaii at 1 p.m. and an Easter egg hunt will take place at 12:30 p.m.