By Ryan Curtis
After BYU won both games of the doubleheader on Friday (May 5, 2006) New Mexico put on a pitching clinic for Brigham Young University as they took a convincing 15-4 win in Provo.
New Mexico”s Danny Herrera showed BYU what a tricky little left-hander could do. BYU tried using left and right-handers with little success against the powerful offense of the Lobos.
“He [Herrera] throws his changeups in the 50”s and his fastball in the 80”s,” BYU head coach Vance Law said. “He”s learned how to get people out which is the art of pitching.”
Coach Law explained that Herrera isn”t much to look at physically, only 5”7″ and 145 pounds, but he has great control of his pitches and that makes him effective against good hitters. The rest of the Cougar team was in awe as well when they couldn”t get a run until the seventh inning.
“We showed our bats better [today],” New Mexico head coach Rich Alday said. “We had some key hits and D-Ray [Herrera] was outstanding.”
Meanwhile, the Cougars shuffled through four pitchers before the game was over. Coach law explained that by the end of the game switching out pitchers was more to get guys reps than displeasure with the players. All four were scored on, but with a team that averages over .300, any pitcher would have to be on his best game.
“Pat [Patrick Wells] didn”t have a great day,” Law said. “He made some good pitches…but they [the Lobos] stayed with it.”
The Lobos ripped the game wide open in the second inning. They went through the entire line-up with their home-run king, designated hitter Chris Carlson, hitting his 19th home run of the season to bring in the sixth and seventh runs. Then BYU put in James Platt to finish the inning.
BYU got it going in the fifth with two runners on first and second, when shortstop Marcos Villezcas hit a single to right field. BYU catcher Casey Nelson stopped at third only to find it a little crowded there with teammate Stetson Banks coming in to third as well. Casey had to run and was tagged out at home for the third and final out of the inning.
“Outs are more valuable than one individual run,” said coach Law. “It was a conservative play and Stetson is still learning.”
BYU did get two runs in the seventh inning, and one more in the eighth and ninth innings. But it was too little too late, since the Lobos scored all 15 of their points by the seventh inning.
Even though it was a one-sided lose for the cougars, coach Law was very optimistic after the game.
“I”m disappointed with the lose, but satisfied with the way we”re playing now,” he said. “I”m proud of our guys. They keep working hard and keep believing in themselves and us as a coaching staff. If you had told me, when we were 2-9, we would be at .500, I would have thought you were crazy.”
The Cougars have come a long way since the beginning of the season, and are just behind the Lobos in the Mountain West conference at 9-7.
“I feel fortunate to win two in a row last night,” coach Law said.
* Cougars win two. The Cougars won both games of a doubleheader on Friday 10-6 and 9-2. These two wins allowed the Cougars to gain a game on New Mexico and gain possession of third place.