Air Force Rallies To 5-4 Win In Extra Innings At BYU
April 9, 2009
PROVO, Utah - Freshman Jack Lupo's two out RBI-single rallied Air Force past BYU, 5-4, in 11 innings Thursday night at Miller Field. The Falcons overcame some defensive miscues to improve to 11-20, 2-5 and dropped the Cougars to 18-13, 5-5. The Falcons won in Provo for the first time in seven years, snapping a 22-game losing streak at Miller Field.
Despite an error-plagued sixth inning, that allowed BYU to score three unearned runs and erase Air Force's 2-0 lead, the Falcons scrapped their way back late in the game. The Falcons committed two errors and a misplayed a third ball in the outfield that was ruled a hit in the inning.
The Falcons tied the game back up in the seventh with a run and took a brief 4-3 lead with another run in the eighth. BYU tied it up with a run in the bottom of the eighth to eventually send the game into extra innings.
Freshman reliever Aaron Kurcz (3-3) kept pitching his way out of jams and held off the Cougars long enough to allow Air Force to get ahead in the 11th. Despite having runners on base every inning he pitched, Kurcz held BYU scoreless over 3.2 innings pitched, striking out four.
Matt Alexander laced a leadoff single to start the 11th and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by catcher Parker Mayo. Two batters later, Lupo laced a single right back up the middle off BYU closer Jordan Muir (0-1) and Alexander raced home to give the Falcons the lead.
With one out and a runner on the the bottom of the 11th, Kurcz induced the Cougars' top hitter, Kent Walton, into a double play to end the game.
The Air Force pitching staff held BYU to 12 hits on the day, getting one of the best starts of his career from senior right-hander Casey Allen. Allen gave up three unearned runs in 6.1 innings pitched, striking out four and scattering seven hits. After allowing a pair of hits in the first, Allen settled down and did not allow the Cougars to get a base runner past first base until the sixth inning.
Air Force had 11 hits in the game and were led by Alexander and Lupo. Alexander went 2-for-4 with two walks at the plate and scored four runs. Lupo was 3-for-5 on the day, with a pair of RBIs. Nathan Carter also reached base four times for the Falcons, with one hit and three walks. Ben Ausbun also had two hits on the day, including an RBI double.
BYU starter Jeremy Toole went seven innings, allowing three runs. Toole allowed seven hits, walked six batters and struck out six. Michael Bowen led the Cougar offense with three hits, a run and RBI.
The Falcons return to action Friday, April 10, for game two of the three-game series with BYU. First pitch is at 7 p.m.