The home field advantage wasn’t much of an advantage Thursday night as the Cougars lost to the San Diego Toreros at Larry H. Miller Field 14-7.
BYU started strong in the first inning, but it could not hold off San Diego’s powerful batters throughout the night, often struggling to get more than four at-bats per inning.
“It was pretty ugly, I didn’t like it at all,” BYU coach Mike Littlewood said. “Desmond (Poulson) didn’t have his good stuff on the mound and it kind of trickled down to the hitters.”
To begin the night, Brock Whitney walked to first and then scored when Kelton Caldwell hit his second home run of the season. Designated hitter Bret Lopez followed Caldwell’s lead, hitting a double. They ended the first inning with two runs, two hits and no errors.
Things picked up momentum in the third inning when the Toreros scored two runs off of designated hitter Troy Conyers’s double to right field. Conyers then scored off of Ben Wylly’s single and Wylly followed, advancing home when Brandon Defazio singled to left field. That put them ahead of BYU 6-2.
Relief pitchers, including Chris Howard and Hayden Parker, helped to bring more of a dynamic to the mound, but the Toreros found a way around the Cougars to pull ahead with five additional runs in the seventh inning when Conyers hit another home run, scoring three more runs for San Diego. Ryan Kirby, who pinch-ran for Conyers, later scored on Wylly’s single.
San Diego’s closing pitcher in the bottom of the ninth gave BYU the pitches they needed to score more runs. Parker Starr launched the ball out to deep left field for a double hit, giving Hayden Nielsen and Brennon Lund time to run past home base. Starr then ran to third on a rogue ball and came home on an error.
Later on in that same inning, CJ Latham bolted a grounder to deep left field, giving Whitney and Eric Urry time to run home, putting the final score at 14-7.
“The thing about baseball is that there’s always tomorrow. We’ll come back tomorrow and give it everything we’ve got,” Littlewood said.
Despite BYU’s lull, its fighting will in the ninth inning helped them to regain some of the momentum they will need to face the Toreros again tomorrow in game two of the three-game series. The game will begin at 6 p.m. at Larry H. Miller Field.