Brock Watkins runs the bases against Washington State. (BYU Photo)

BYU baseball bounces back with 9-3 win over Washington State

Revenge is such a sweet thing.

The BYU baseball team avenged the men’s basketball team’s NIT loss to Washington State Tuesday with a 9-3 win over the Crimson Cougars, rebounding from back-to-back losses to Gonzaga over the weekend.

Starting pitcher Justis Reiser helped get the game started defensively, keeping the Crimson Cougars off the board through the first two innings. He earned his second win of the season, striking out four batters over the two innings he pitched this afternoon.

The “Bat Cats” of BYU got their offense going in the bottom of the second. After three consecutive walks that loaded the bases, BYU got on the board thanks to a Collin Reuter RBI groundout. Following Reuter’s at-bat, Brock Watkins ripped an RBI double to left field, extending BYU’s lead to 3-0.

The following inning, in the bottom of third, was the difference-maker in the game, as the Cougars in blue distanced themselves from the Crimson Cougars, putting up five runs in the frame. The sequence included an infield single, hit by pitch, single, infield single and fielder’s choice groundout. By the time all was said and done, BYU led 8-0 after three innings. They went on to add one more run in the sixth on a wild pitch.

Brock Watkins was the offensive leader Tuesday, going 2-for-4 with an RBI infield single in the explosive third inning.

BYU’s bullpen continued to stifle the struggling Cougars from Pullman, keeping them scoreless until the seventh, when they knocked an RBI single to right, followed by two more runs in the ninth with a wild pitch and sac fly. But the deficit was too much to overcome, helping the BYU Cougars secure the victory. Both teams managed to finish with seven hits and an error each, but BYU found ways to score.

“Baseball is a hard game, and I am proud of the guys and the way they came out,” BYU head coach Mike Littlewood said.

He added that the difference today, as opposed to the weekend series against Gonzaga, was getting base hits to score runs. He hopes that the Cougars can carry the momentum going forward.

Freshman catcher JD Gardner, who got to see some playing time today, was happy to get the win today. “I think for us, we wanted to come out and prove a point that we were going to win this game.”

BYU (13-9, 2-4 WCC) will hit the road this weekend looking for more wins, playing conference foe Saint Mary’s Thursday through Saturday in Moraga, California.

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