BYU awoke from an afternoon of lethargy with five eighth-inning runs to stun Hawaii 5-3, Friday night in the WAC tournament.
Outfielder Burt Call drilled an inside-the-park homer with two outs in the bottom of the eighth to snap a 3-3 tie and provide the winning runs.The victory moved the Cougars into tonight's title game against the winner of Friday's late game between Hawaii and San Diego State. The championship game is at 8 p.m. MST. If the Cougars lose, another will follow to decide the winner of the double-elimination event.
BYU improved to 47-16 on the year while Hawaii dropped to 37-25. Cougar pitcher John DeSilva improved his record to 16-2.
Neither BYU nor Hawaii could claim much of an advantage going into Friday's contest. The teams had split four games in Honolulu in mid-March, with BYU winning 8-7 and 15-3 and losing 4-0 and 11-4.
Both clubs earned a spot in the winners' bracket game with 6-5 Thursday victories. The top-seeded Cougars got their win over No. 4-seed Wyoming while Hawaii edged No. 2 seed San Diego State.
The Rainbows got on the scoreboard in the fourth inning, after managing just one hit off BYU starter John DeSilva until then. Todd Takayoshi led off with a single, moved to third on Mark McWherter's single to right and scored on a passed ball. The lead moved to 2-0 in the top of the sixth when McWherter doubled in John Matias. Hawaii nearly added another run when McWherter went to third on a wild pitch, but DeSilva struck out Jon Viela and Harold Cabbab to end the inning.
BYU saw an opportunity fade in the bottom of the seventh when the Cougars left two runners stranded in scoring position. Call drew a two-out walk and Paul Cluff connected for an infield single.
BYU entered the eighth inning trailing 3-0 against Hawaii starter - and Heber City product - Clinton Kelson. Randy Wilstead singled and scored on a Brent Brown double that sent Kelson to the showers. Reliever Greg Nealon allowed an RBI single to Devin Kunz and a walk to Brad Eagar, before being lifted in favor of Jeff Ball.
Gary Miner then sacrificed the runners ahead and Rick Afenir delivered a sacrifice fly that tied the score at 3-3. Call then hit a sinking liner to center field that skipped past a diving Cabbab, and Call went for a home run.
DeSilva got two outs in the ninth before being relieved by Mike Switzer, who earned a save. In the other Friday game, San Diego State eliminated Wyoming 8-3.