Kinser and Shaver lead Cougars to 17-1 victory
“We got great at bats up and down the lineup and played great defense for nine innings,” BYU head coach Mike Littlewood said.
Shaver homered twice, driving in a career- high seven runs and scoring three times for the Cougars (24-22, 13-10). He hit three-run homers in the fourth inning and the seventh inning to drive in six of the Cougars’ 14 runs. In the eighth inning, he drew a bases loaded walk to push across the 17th run for the Cougars.
Kinser (6-3, 4.14) started and threw eight innings for BYU striking out seven and only walking two. Kinser threw seven scoreless innings after allowing his lone run from Saint Mary’s (25-25, 10-16) first two batters. Kinser tied his career high with seven strikeouts and went the farthest into a game only allowing one run this season.
“It all starts on the mound and (Kinser) set a great tone for us tonight,” Littlewood said.
In the fourth, BYU scored four runs off five hits. Hayden Nielsen began the rally with a one-out double down the left field line and moved to third on a Dillon Robinson single to left. Bronson Larsen’s sacrifice fly to right tied the game at 1-1 and advanced Robinson to second.
Tanner Chauncey singled to right to take the lead for good. Shaver reached on an infield single before Cole Wilstead singled in the third run of the inning. Shaver advanced to third and came home on a wild pitch to make it 4-1.
In the fifth, a bunt single by Derrick Whitney and two walks loaded the bases. A sac fly by Chauncey scored the Cougars’ fifth run before Shaver hit his first three-run shot of the night hitting the scoreboard in left field.
The Cougars added a run in the fifth on an infield single by Nielsen to make it 9-1. Larsen extended his hit streak to 20 games with a leadoff double in the sixth inning. He came around to score thanks to a Chauncey single and crossed the plate off a wild pitch. Court Iorg drove in Chauncey with a single of his own to right field to push the lead to 11-1.
Robinson drove in two more runs for the Cougars with a double in the right center field gap in the eighth inning to make it 16-1 before Shaver pushed across the 17th run after a hit batter.
The win which saw six Cougars cross the plate two or more times moved BYU's magic number down to three to clinch a spot in the West Coast Conference tournament. Whitney, who is filling for in the injured Eric Urry in right field, was 3-for-5 with three runs, two stolen bases and a divinig catch in the field for the second straight night.
“It’s nice to see (Whitney) playing such a great right field in place of Urry,” Littlewood said. “He’s made a couple of the better catches I’ve ever seen in the last two nights.”
The Cougars finish their 2015 home schedule with the rubber game of the three game series against Saint Mary’s on Saturday at noon MDT at Larry H. Miller Field. This year’s seniors will be honored a half hour before the game.
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