Brock Watkins triples against Milwaukee. (Decker Westenburg)

BYU baseball splits homer opener doubleheader vs. Milwaukee

Doubleheaders. They can be double the fun, but they can also be double the work.

BYU baseball began its 2022 home campaign with a split against Milwaukee, winning the first game 6-5 and then losing the second one 2-0.

Milwaukee had a 1-0 lead for most of the first game until Ryan Sepede tied the game up with an RBI triple in the sixth inning for BYU. Sepede finished the game 2-for-4, with the triple as his highlight.

The Cougars found a way to blow the game open in the seventh inning with three-straight RBI singles from Brock Watkins, Mitch McIntyre and Andrew Pintar that extended the lead to three. Cole Gambill even joined in the action, with a fielder’s choice that allowed the Cougars to lead 5-1 after seven innings.

Milwaukee didn’t give up, answering with a two-run double and single in the inning to tie the game at 5-all.

Collin Reuter helped elevate the Cougars with a go-ahead solo home run in the bottom of the eighth, regaining the lead right back. Reuter finished the game 2-for-4.

Starter Jack Sterner pitched well, going 6.1 innings while allowing only one run and three hits, but the win went to closer Reid McLaughlin. With a bases-loaded jam in the top of the ninth, McLaughlin sealed the win with a strikeout, followed by a flyout.

Game two

Game two was played pretty similarly in the early innings of the game, but the difference was that Milwaukee starting pitcher, Nick Gilhaus, found a way to keep the BYU “Bat Cats” quiet.

BYU struggled mightily with many different chances to score and potentially tie or take the lead. The Cougars ended up with 13 stranded runners on base in the game.

The biggest highlights of the game, despite the loss, came from Watkins with a triple in the fifth and a 2-for-3 hitting outing for catcher Josh Cowden with a single and a double.

Starting pitcher Nate Dahle, like Sterner in the first game, stymied the Milwaukee offense, going 5.1 innings while surrendering only one run on three hits.

“I felt pretty good, my arm was feeling really great,” Sterner said after the doubleheader. “In the beginning, I felt like my offspeed was here and there, but as the game went on it all clicked, and everything was feeling good.”

Sterner said the team is certainly disappointed about the loss in the second game, especially after winning six games in a row, but says they are ready to bounce back tomorrow.

Head coach Mike Littlewood felt that the team’s overall performance today was good. “I liked what we did all day long. It’s really tough to win two games in one day.”

Littlewood was pleased with the pitching today and felt that they performed to their potential. He also credited Milwaukee for their competition saying, “They’re big and strong and athletic and they hurt you when you make mistakes.”

The Cougars will look to rebound after the loss today when they wrap up the opening home series vs. Milwaukee tomorrow at 12 p.m. MST.

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