Cougars play with more than luck in Irish Baseball

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    By BRENDAN BURKE

    Luck was with the BYU baseball team, as it went 2-0 in last week’s Irish Baseball Classic in San Antonio, Texas.

    In the Cougars’ first game, Joe Baklik of the University of Incarnate hit a two-run homer in the third to give the hometown Crusaders an early lead.

    BYU battled back from a 4-0 deficit and finished off the Crusaders in the ninth inning with a right-field double by sophomore outfielder Troy McNaughton.

    The final score was 6-5. Cougar shortstop/second baseman Troy Farnsworth had a pair of singles in the sixth and eighth innings.

    McNaughton continued to shine with a solo home run in the top of the fifth in BYU’s 7-1 victory over Southern Illinois University Saturday. The Cougars scored six unearned runs with two outs in the fourth inning.

    The game was shortened to five innings because of steady rain. Cougar right-hander Todd Crump picked up his second win of the week and improved his record to 4-0.

    “Crump had two huge games; he’s doing great,” said head coach Gary Pullins. “We’re putting in our starting rotation.”

    The games in the Irish Baseball Classic were played at Wolff Municipal Stadium, home of the San Antonio Mission, the Los Angeles Dodgers AA farm team.

    Due to heavy rain, many games were cancelled.

    “It was a huge disappointment to everyone involved,” Pullins said. “You bring a ball club that far and you want to play.”

    Pullins said BYU is ball-club excellent, but they need more consistency. He feels the missed games would have been good practice.

    BYU ended with a 2-0 record in the tournament, SUI was 1-2, Notre Dame was 1-0 and the University of Incarnate Word finished 0-2.

    The Cougars open their home baseball season this Thursday with a three-game series against Texas Christian University.

    “We’ve been on the road for 22 games. That’s hard for any team,” Pullins said. “If history proves correct, we’ll do well at home.”

    Pullins believes the Cougars will play with more confidence in Provo and will continue to win.

    BYU is 13-9 on the season.

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