Late rally falls short for BYU baseball, dropping series finale 4-3 to San Diego

BYU baseball couldn’t create any walk-off magic Saturday afternoon, leaving the game-winning run stranded in the ninth inning of a 4-3 loss to San Diego in the series rubber match.

Singles from Ozzie Pratt and Mitch McIntyre put runners on first and third with one out in the bottom of the ninth, with Pratt standing just 90 feet from tying the ballgame. First baseman Jacob Wilk would be denied the chance to play hero, grounding into a game-ending double play executed by a stellar San Diego defensive squad that robbed the Cougars several different times on the afternoon.

“We swung the bat good, but we just got a bit unlucky,” BYU interim manager Trent Pratt said following the loss, crediting San Diego’s defense for keeping BYU’s bats in check in key situations.

Typically, knocking 14 base hits — including three doubles and a home run — should equate to more than three runs in a ballgame, but the Cougars left 10 runners on base and were a dreadful 2-13 at the plate with runners in scoring position. Eight of BYU’s nine starters recorded hits, with Collin Reuter going 3-4 with a double and Brock Watkins hitting a home run, but the collective offensive effort failed to translate to sufficient scoring.

“I like where we’re at, but it’s hard to play as well as we did and lose two games here,” Pratt said.

Bryce Robison started on the mound for the Cougars, tossing 3 2/3 innings and allowing one earned run with three strikeouts. An ill-timed error from BYU’s defense allowed two additional unearned runs to cross home. Reliever Nate Dahle allowed a two-run blast to Chase Meidroth on his first pitch of the day before settling down to throw 2 1/3 innings with four punchouts.

BYU’s bullpen was elite in the late innings to stay alive in the contest, with Cooper McKeehan, Cy Nielson and Reid McLaughlin combining to throw three perfect innings with seven strikeouts in relief.

With the loss, BYU drops the weekend series and falls to 7-8 in WCC play. The Cougars will look to bounce back at home against UVU this Tuesday for Seinfeld night.

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