PROVO — Dane Nielsen's two-RBI double in the bottom of the ninth wasn't enough as the BYU baseball team (20-20, 7-9) fell to No. 7 TCU 6-4 amid snow flurries at Larry H. Miller Field Friday.
"We need to put pressure on early in the game because they have a quality pitching staff," said BYU head coach Vance Law. "We hit a lot of balls hard and they made some good plays."
Down 6-1 going into the bottom of the ninth, the Cougars loaded the bases for Nielsen, who laced an RBI double to the right-center gap to make the score 6-4. However, BYU was unable to complete the comeback for the second consecutive night.
Freshman Jaycob Brugman and Stephen Wells were the only Cougars to record multiple hits, combining for four hits and an RBI.
Making his 11th start of the season, BYU sophomore Chris Capper struck out five and walked three in seven innings of work.
Two Cougar errors and a wild pitch in the top of the second set the table for two TCU hits to give the Horned Frogs an early 2-0 lead.
Catcher Wes Guenther's single in the bottom of the first was the Cougars' first of the game and after third baseman Bret Lopez walked, Kelton Caldwell lined out to center field to end the threat.
After TCU added another run in the top of the second, Capper struck out TCU's Jason Coats and Guenther threw out a Horned Frog attempting to steal second. Capper proceeded to retire seven-consecutive Horned Frogs in the fourth and fifth innings, striking out four of the seven batters he faced during that period.
A two-run homer and an RBI single in the top of the sixth extended TCU's lead to 6-0 advantage.
BYU got on the board in the sixth after Stephen Wells singled and stole second base and scored on a Brugman groundout, making the score 6-1.
Freshman Desmond Poulson relieved Capper in the seventh and gave up only two hits and one run, striking out four and giving up no earned runs.
The final game of the series is set for 1 p.m. Saturday at Larry H. Miller Field.
UTAH 13, 19; AIR FORCE 10, 10: At Colorado Springs, The Utah baseball team won a pair of high-scoring affairs at Air Force on Friday afternoon, 13-10 and 19-10. The first game was a continuation of the March 27 game that was halted after seven innings due to travel plans.
The first game of the day resumed in the eighth inning with Utah leading 9-4. After reliever Kesley Kondo shut Air Force out in the top of the eighth, James Brooks and C.J. Cron quickly got things started with home runs as part of a four-run inning in the bottom of the eighth, giving Utah a 13-4 lead. The Falcons made things interesting in the top of the ninth, scoring six runs to cut the lead to 13-10. Nathan Carter hit a grand slam with two outs before Tyler Wagner was brought in to get the final out of the game.
Ben Mordini, who pitched all seven innings in Utah, earned the first win of his career. Cron, Brooks and Shaun Cooper each had three hits in the game.
With the Utes leading 4-3 in game two, Utah exploded to pull ahead with a six-run sixth inning. Utah had seven of their 20 hits in that inning. Brooks had a two-RBI double as the Utes batted all the way through the lineup.
Air Force slowly started to make their way back. Parker Mayo hit a leadoff home run in the sixth, and the Falcons scored four runs in the seventh off another Mayo homer (this time a three-run shot), cutting the Utah lead to 10-8.
The Utes had enough left in the tank for a final offensive outburst, pulling back ahead with a four-run eighth inning and a five-run ninth inning. Cody Guymon hit a three-run home run in the eighth inning while Cron also had a three-run homer in the ninth.
The Falcons made a rally in the ninth inning with three-straight singles and two runs before reliever Stephen Streich forced the next three batters into outs to earn the win.
Brooks continued his recent hot streak at the plate, going 5-for-6 with three RBI. Cron was 2-for-6 with four RBI, while Cooper was 3-for-4.
Utah starter Rick Anton earned the win to raise his record to 6-1 on the year.
"This park is a hitters paradise and the wind was really blowing out today," Utah head coach Bill Kinneberg said. "It's really tough on pitching staffs. I was really proud of our guys to grind out two wins today. Against Air Force in this ballpark you are not safe until the last out is made."
Due to inclement weather expected later in the day in the Colorado Springs area, the two teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday, beginning at 11:00 a.m. They will forgo Sunday's contest.
DIXIE 6, 18; ARIZONA CHRISTIAN 6: At St George, Dixie State College baseball swept a double header Friday from Arizona Christian University in two, very different performances. Despite being outhit in the opener, the Storm got timely scoring spurts to post a 6-4 win. Then, the offense pounded out 17 hits en route to an 18-6 blitzing of the Firestorm.
The Red Storm improved to 30-15 with the twinbill sweep while ACU dropped to 14-32.
Tyson Littlewood blasted a pair of three run homers — one in each contest — totaling six runs batted in. His first blast coupled with a two-run double from Justin Jensen provided enough offensive support.
Troy Hunter scattered 12 hits, but earned the series-opening win (5-2). Daniel Zapata notched his ninth save.
In the nightcap, Jensen and Nick Urban each tallied four-hit efforts. Urban knocked in 5 RBI while Jensen crossed home four times. Mike Stiles, Jordan Hanley and Littlewood chipped in 3 RBI a piece for DSC.
Jordon Blanchard allowed six runs late, but struck out four in another solid starting appearance (5-2).
The regular season finale is Saturday beginning at noon from Bruce Hurst Field. Four seniors — Jensen, Tony Nelson, Chase Pittsenbarger and Rhett Welsh — will be honored before the games.
SLCC 12, 7: EASTERN UTAH 2, 9: At Price, The fifth ranked SLCC Bruin Baseball team split with Eas tern Utah winning game one 12-2 in five innings but dropping game two 7-9. The Bruins are now 42-8 overall and 27-7 in conference play.
Adam Gunn picked up the game one win, throwing a five inning complete game allowing two runs with five strike outs. Braden Anderson was 4-for-4 with a double and three RBIs. Mitch Manning was 3 for 3 with a home run and two RBIs and Eddy Alverez knocked a double going 1 for 2 at the plate.
Two four-run innings by Eastern Utah in the second and the seventh led to the SLCC 9-7 defeat. Kyle Bilbrey was 2 for 5 with a double, and Sean Moysh went 2 for 4 with a double.