BYU miscues lead to 11-8 loss to Saint Mary’s
The BYU-Saint Mary’s baseball game on Thursday at Miller Park featured that famous bizarre Utah spring weather with snow to start, sunshine in the middle innings and more snow at the finish. Both teams soldiered through it but the Gaels were cleaner and earned an 11-8 victory in Game 1 of a three-game series.
The Cougars were right there at 6-6 heading into the eighth inning but two critical errors allowed Saint Mary’s to take control.
“We need to play clean,” BYU coach Trent Pratt said. “We’ve talked about it a lot. Two plays in the eighth inning really cost us and we just couldn’t overcome that. We got close but we’ve just got to play better than that.”
Ryan Sepede misjudged a line drive in right field in the eighth, a four-base error that allowed Saint Mary’s to advance runners to second and third with nobody out. Freshman Sam Beck got the call from the bullpen and induced a ground ball to third, but Austin Deming couldn’t make the tough play and a run scored to give the Gaels a 7-6 lead. Saint Mary’s would score four in the eighth to take a 10-6 advantage.
In the eighth, Deming drove in a run with a sacrifice fly and freshman Luke Anderson had an RBI single to close to 10-8 but another Cougar error in the top of the ninth allowed the Gaels to take a three-run lead.
In the bottom of the ninth, Chad Call walked with one out but Cole Gambill flied out to left and Ozzie Pratt struck out on three pitches to end the game.
“We’ve just got to play catch and make plays,” Coach Pratt said. “That’s what it comes down to. We scored eight today and when you score eight runs, you should have pretty good chance to win. We’ve got to make a pitch and we’ve got to make plays. Those little things matter and it’s kind of a broken record now. We’ve got get better.”
Coleman Schmidt homered twice and drove in three runs for Saint Mary’s (2-2 WCC, 7-11 overall), which came into the game ninth out of ten teams in the West Coast Conference in batting average (.237) and dead last in runs scored per game (4.88). Nick Mistone was 3 for 5 with three RBI for the Gaels, which smashed 15 hits off of three Cougar pitchers.
Deming drove in five runs for the BYU (1-3 WCC, 7-13 overall) with a pair of doubles. Sepede and Anderson had three hits each for the Cougars, which stranded 11 base runners.
BYU scored four runs in the third, with three coming on Deming’s bases-clearing double, to take a 4-3 lead. Saint Mary’s tied the game at 4, then grabbed a 6-4 lead in the seventh. BYU countered with an RBI double from Deming and Anderson followed with a run-scoring single to tie the game at 6-6 before things unraveled in the late innings.
“I thought our approach was OK,” Coach Pratt said. “If we get a couple of big hits in big spots that would have kind of broken the game wide open. Sometimes you get those hits and sometimes you don’t. That’s baseball. I told the guys this was a tough loss but we’ve got to make plays and be better. We can still win the series. I told them to get some sleep and come back ready to win the series.”
Game 2 is scheduled for Friday at 3 p.m. But with a 90% chance of rain or snow in the afternoon, plans could change.