Sunday, May 9, 2021

Cole Gambill, left, celebrates a home run against Arizona State at home on April 27. The outfielder had two homers on the day. (Addie Blacker)

BYU baseball gets ‘marquee win’ at home against Arizona State

BYU baseball head coach Mike Littlewood is now 2-0 against the five-time national champion Arizona State Sun Devils after winning 8-5 on Tuesday in the Devils’ first visit to Provo since 1977.

“It was a marquee win of our season,” Littlewood said. “We came out today with a lot of confidence and a lot of calmness.”

The Cougars and Devils last played in Littlewood’s first season in 2013, and BYU is 10-46 all-time against ASU now. The Devils were ranked No. 26 in the latest Collegiate Baseball poll.

Junior outfielder Cole Gambill lead the way for the Cougars with three runs total and a pair of home runs on the day. Starting pitcher Bryce Robison got the win with just one run allowed on four hits in three innings.

The Cougars got the action started early in the matinee matchup, putting up four runs in the first inning. Gambill got his first home run of the day with a solo shot to deep right. The Devils started to slowly make their way back in the third inning, putting up one score to make it 5-1.

“All it takes is one guy to get it going,” Gambill said. “When you have momentum you gotta ride that momentum. That’s something we haven’t been great at this year.”

Gambill responded with his second homer in the bottom of the fifth to put BYU up 6-1, but the Devils came alive in the top of the sixth with a home run of their own to make the score 6-4.

The Cougars found a way to respond with two runs of their own in the bottom of the sixth, keeping some distance from the Devils at 8-4. A strong defensive effort helped BYU hang onto the lead, including a double play in the top of the seventh with a catch against the center-field wall by Mitch McIntyre and a quick relay to first base.

ASU brought it within three runs in the top of the eighth, but the Cougar defense held tight once again, with Reid McLaughlin coming in as the closing pitcher and getting a key strikeout on reigning Pac-12 Player of the Week Ethan Long.

BYU is now 10-0 this season when leading after eight innings. The Cougars record sits at 13-23 on the season and 6-4 at home, with a three-game series against WCC foe Saint Mary’s coming up this weekend.

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