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Pintar’s heroics lead BYU past San Diego in extra innings

By Daily Herald - | May 7, 2021

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – BYU second baseman Andrew Pintar hit two homers and drove in four runs to help the Cougars complete a 6-4 extra-inning comeback win at Fowler Park on Thursday. The win extended the current BYU winning streak to six games while snapping an eight-game winning streak for San Diego.

“We played with a lot of confidence and calmness tonight,” said BYU head coach Mike Littlewood. “Throughout the game in the dugout it just felt like we were going to figure out a way to win. I’m real proud of the way the guys battled all night. We played with a lot of heart.”

The Cougars jumped out to a 3-0 lead through three innings. After two quick strikeouts by Toreros’ pitcher Jake Miller in the top of the first, Andrew Pintar got ahold of a pitch and drove it over the left field fence for his fifth home run of the year to put the Cougars up early, 1-0.

BYU followed up a scoreless second inning with two more runs in the top of the third. With a man on first, Pintar drilled a ball into center field. Toreros centerfielder Paul Cunst made a diving attempt, but the ball bounced off the wall. Mitch McIntyre scored from first and Pintar made his way into third for a triple. The throw from centerfield short-hopped the cutoff man and got away, allowing Pintar enough time to advance home to give BYU a 3-0 lead.

San Diego answered in the bottom of the fourth as back-to-back hit batters loaded the bases with just one out. A pair of identical lined shots into left followed, each bringing in a run to make it a 3-2 game.

The Toreros tied the score at 3-3 with a long home run on the first pitch of the bottom half of the fifth.

San Diego took the lead 4-3 in the seventh with a shot in the gap in right center. McIntyre in center and Pintar at second executed a near-perfect relay to throw out the aggressive runner who was trying to stretch a double into a triple to end the inning.

Cole Gambill led off the top of the ninth with a stand-up double. Bryan Call then drew a five-pitch walk to put the go-ahead run on first with no outs. Next up, Joshua Cowden fouled off a pair of bunt attempts while trying to advance the runners. With an 0-2 count he then singled up the middle to bring the tying run home and send the game into extra innings.

Peyton Cole doubled down the first-base line to get things going for BYU in the top of 10th. Pintar then put an exclamation point on his big night with a two-run homer to put the Cougars up 6-4.

BYU overcame 17 strikeouts against a strong Torero pitching performance, 14 punch outs coming from starter Jake Miller.

“We knew coming into the series that San Diego throws a lot of strikes, so we came looking to hit,” said Pintar. “Our pitching really battled tonight and gave us a chance to win, and we got timely hits when we needed them. They are a very good team and it was a great team win for us.”

A hit batter and single put runners on the corners for the Toreros in the bottom of the 10th with two down, but a slow roller to first base was handled by Cooper Vest to end the game. BYU closer Reid McLaughlin got the win to improve his record to 3-1 on the year.

The Cougars hand San Diego its first loss of the season when taking a lead into the ninth inning. Coming in to the game the Toreros were 21-0 when leading through eight.

BYU will play game two of the three-game series against San Diego tomorrow, May 7, at 6 p.m. PDT at Fowler Park. The game will be broadcast on the WCC Network. Audio broadcasts will also be available on the BYU Sports Network: BYUradio 107.9 FM, BYUCougars.com and the BYU Cougars app.

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