The Cougars took a commanding five-run ninth inning victory on Tuesday against the University of Utah, culminating in the second of three games won against the Utes this season.
“Austin Hall was great, just outstanding,” coach Vance Law said in a press release. “He set the tone for the ninth inning and his aggressiveness got everyone up. That ninth inning was an indicator of the heart of this team. I’m glad we played nine innings and not a seven-inning game.”
Hall, a senior from Danville, Calif., lead off the ninth for the Cougars by hitting a double and setting the tempo for the comeback. The Cougars were down 6-4 going into the ninth inning and had to do something to change up the game. Hall scored when sophomore Dillon Robinson beat out a fielders choice instead of a double play. Stephen Wells also hit a a one-out double off of Utes relief pitcher Tyler Wagner, which tied the score 6-6.
“He kept throwing me sliders,” said Wells, a senior outfielder from Kenmore, Wash. “I thought if he threw another one that stayed up, I was going to rip it. It all started when Austin [Hall] got his hit. I felt this was going to be good, and when he hit that laser, I thought ‘this is it.’”
With Wes Guenther scoring the ninth and final run for the Cougars, relief pitcher, Mason Marshall, once again took the mound to strike out the last three Ute hitters in a row. This is the sixth save of the season for Marshall, along with stellar performances by relief pitcher Chris Howard, Marc Oslund and David Parry. Cameron Keysor did well for his first start on the mound for the Cougars pitching the first five innings.
“Our pitching was good,” Law said. “Our bullpen did a great job as well. Our team believes we can win. We want to get over that hump where we expect to win.”
The Cougars finally come back to Provo when the team takes on West Coast Conference leading Loyola Marymount (12-12) in a three-game series beginning Thursday. This will be the first WCC meeting between the two teams. LMU is coming off a 10-6 victory over Cal State Northridge with an explosive five-run first inning giving the Lions their fourth straight win in a row.
The Cougars will look to start Chris Capper and Mark Anderson for the first two games in the series, but will change it up by starting sophomore right-handed pitcher, Desmond Poulson, for Saturday’s game at 1 p.m.
The first game starts Thursday at 6 p.m. at Miller Park in Provo. Also tune-in to 960 AM radio to catch the play-by-play.