BYU started strong in its series with the Waves, pulling ahead in a 1-0 win to secure its second shutout in a row.
Pitchers Brandon Kinser and Jeff Barker were key players in the win, which went to Kinser, who sealed it in the eighth and ninth innings. Kinser struck out batters in the first and third outs of the ninth frame after Barker struck out six Pepperdine batters and gave up three hits in the start of the game. Barker gave the Cougars a great defensive momentum.
“I can’t say enough about what Jeff (Barker) did,” said BYU coach Mike Littlewood. “Our goal has been timely hitting, playing catch and throwing strikes; that’s just what we did.”
Pepperdine did well to hold off BYU from scoring until the ninth inning, when BYU’s Dillon Robinson and Brock Whitney hit singles to put teammate Brennon Lund on third. Lund then scored the only run of the night on Kelton Caldwell’s sac fly, putting the final score at 1-0.
The Cougars attempted to score early in the game but could not surpass the Waves’ fielding. Parker Starr had two singles, one in the fourth and one in the sixth, but was stranded at the bases both times.
Pepperdine came close to breaking BYU’s shutout in the middle of the game, when batters made it to first and second base in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. Barker and the Cougars managed an inning-ending strikeout in the fifth, and then Starr executed a double play in the sixth.
“Everything was working today,” Barker said. “It was awesome. It seems like we are on a roll, and we need to take advantage of this momentum.”
BYU will attempt to do so in game two in Malibu, beginning at 3 p.m. (PDT).