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Mountain West Friday Recap

#11 UCI 5 @ New Mexico 3
BYU 22 @ Air Force 0
UNLV 2 @
Utah 10
1 @ San Diego St. 4

BYU 22 @ Air Force 0
Wortham Twirls Five-Hit Shutout
USAFA, Colo. (April 25, 2008)–Jake Wortham twirled a five-hit shutout Friday, going the distance in BYU’s 22-0 victory with howling winds at the Air Force Academy.

Wortham evened his record at 3-3, retiring 14 straight before surrendering a double in the ninth inning as the Cougars snapped a five-game losing streak. The junior southpaw from Allen, Texas also recorded nine strikeouts, no walks and retired the side in order in the third, fourth, sixth, seventh and eighth innings.

BYU, now 16-25 overall and 6-8 in the Mountain West Conference, avenged Thursday’s 13-9 loss to the Falcons which was the first victory in 55 league games for AFA.

“It was a great performance,” said BYU Coach Vance Law. “We were struggling more on the mound than any place. For Jake to throw a shutout in these conditions and not fall behind was good and it was the best game he has had all year.”

BYU exploded to a 6-0 lead in the first inning. Sean McNaughton hit a lead-off homer in the first over the rightfield fence. Kent Walton doubled and scored on an RBI single by Kasey Ko. Steve Parker doubled, advancing Ko to third before Michael Bowen hit a three-run homer, thanks to the rightfield wind.

Then J.C. Leach, who went six-for-six, took a turn at going over the fence.

“Today felt great,” said Leach, who was one of three subs that started the game and combined for a 12-for-15 performance with five homers. “I’ve been seeing the ball better and took advantage of the way the wind was blowing.”

When reserve catcher Chad Nacapoy hit a double in the first, the Cougars batted around. Nacapoy belted a two-run homer in the third, followed by a Walton two-RBI double to put BYU up 10-0.

Bowen, a seldom-used transfer from Southern Virginia, hit his second homer of the game to highlight the two-run fourth, as BYU went up 12-0. Parker hit a two-run homer in the fifth to put the Cougars up 14-0.

Bowen doubled in Thomas Bills to highlight the two-run seventh. A McNaughton double and a Leach three-run homer topped the eighth as BYU soared to a 22-0 lead.

UNLV 2 @ Utah 10
Fife Tosses Gem in Baseball Victory

OGDEN, Utah – The University of Utah made itself at home in its first game ever here at Lindquist Field in Ogden, Utah. The Utes raced past UNLV in tallying the 10-2 league win this evening. This was the first of three games for Utah at Lindquist Field this weekend. First pitch here tomorrow is set for 6 p.m.

The two teams exchanged blows in the second inning, but the Utes (15-20, 4-8 Mountain West) got what they needed in the third. Jesse Shriner hit a two-run homer with two outs to make it 3-1. Utah finished the day with 11 hits, led by the 3-for-4, two-run effort of Cooper Blanc. Shriner was 2-for-5 with three RBI and two runs while Cody Guymon was 2-for-2 with two RBI and two runs.

“We played an all-around good game,” said head coach Bill Kinneberg. “We played solid defense, got some timely hitting, and we pitched well. Anytime you get a pitching performance like we got, it makes the game easier.”

Stephen Fife hurled a gem of a game for the Utes in tallying his fifth win of the season. He went the distance in fanning 12 UNLV batters, walking one. He allowed seven hits. Fife struck out the side in the top of the ninth to secure the win. It is his second complete-game victory this year.

“Stephen Fife was outstanding on the mound tonight,” said Kinneberg. “He got stronger as the game went on, and that’s a good thing to see in your pitcher.”

UNLV got on the board first when Bryan Resnick hit a two-out RBI single to right field. It scored Drew Beurlein from third. The Utes responded in the bottom of the second. Cooper Blanc hit a one-out triple, and scored when Michael Beltran hit a ground-out to the shortstop.

Utah went on to score nine unanswered runs after the second inning. Shriner made it 3-1 in the third with his towering homer, high off the scoreboard in left field. It was his fourth of the season and his second round-trip shot of the week.

The Utes exploded in the fifth for three more runs. With two down and no one on, Corey Shimada hit a triple which set up back-to-back-to-back RBI hits. Shimada scored on Guymon’s RBI single to center; Shriner’s RBI double scored Guymon; and Shriner scored on Dustin Hennis’ RBI single to center. After five complete innings, Utah led 6-1.

Utah’s scored the next two runs on a pair of bases-loaded walks. Guymon drew a bases-loaded walk in the sixth, and Beltran repeated the effort in the seventh. Also in the seventh, with the bases loaded, Tyler Relf hit a two-RBI bloop single. It plated Austin Jones from third and Cooper Blanc from second.

UNLV finally countered in the seventh. Xavier Scruggs hit a one-out solo home run out dead-center field, making it 10-2.

Matt Hutchison gets the loss for UNLV, and Scruggs led the Rebel offense with a 3-for-4, one-RBI outing.

TCU 1 @ SDSU 4
Aztecs Defeat TCU, 4-1, On One-Hitter By Strasburg
Another standout pitching performance by Stephen Strasburg plus some timely hitting propelled San Diego State to a 4-1 victory over TCU in the opener of their three-game conference series. The sophomore right-hander tossed his second complete-game one-hitter in his last three outings in a dominant performance that was complemented by some clutch offensive production by his teammates.

Strasburg allowed base runners in only one inning and stuck out 13 as he improved to 4-1 on the season and lowered his league-leading earned run average to 1.63 overall and 0.92 in conference play. The run he allowed in the seventh inning broke a string of 30 straight frames in which he had not allowed an opponent to record a run.

The Aztecs (25-17, 11-5 MWC) got on the board with a run in the third when Erik Castro’s leadoff double was cashed in by an RBI single off the bat of Cameron Johnson They extended that lead to 2-0 in the fifth as Pat Colwell’s two-out single up the middle brought home Castro, who had singled and advance to second on a ground out by Johnson.

Strasburg, meanwhile, retired the first 18 men he faced before the Horned Frogs (27-15, 11-5 MWC) countered with a run in the top of the seventh. Ben Carruthers led off the inning with a double to left center and took third on a wild pitch. Bryan Kervin’s grounder to second brought home Carruthers to end Strasburg’s scoreless innings streak. Chris Ellington then drew a two-out walk, but he would be the last TCU hitter to reach base on the night.

San Diego State added a pair of insurance runs in its half of the eight thanks to some clutch hitting by Garett Green. With Colwell on second base and two out, the Horned Frogs opted to intentionally walk Nick Romero to face Green. The Aztec second baseman made them pay as he laced a triple to right center to drive home both runners and give the home side a three-run cushion.

All of the Aztecs’ runs came off TCU starter Tyler Lockwood, who went the distance allowing the four runs on 120 hits while striking out seven. The loss was the first of the season for the sophomore right-hander, who fell to 4-1 on the year.

For SDSU, Erik Castro ended his day with three hits and scored a pair of runs while Pat Colwell (one RBI) and Green (two RBI) tallied two hits apiece.

With the win, SDSU moved into a second-place tie with TCU at 11-5 in league play. Both teams are a half-game behind New Mexico (11-4), which is hosting three games against UC Irvine this weekend.

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