Addison Gentry hit a grandslam in the bottom of the ninth to lift Air Force to a 13-9 win over BYU in Mountain West Conference action Thursday afternoon at Falcon Field. The Falcons improved to 14-24, 1-11, while the Cougars dropped to 15-25, 5-8.
After failing to hold a two-run lead in the ninth, the Falcons rallied to win their first MWC conference game since 2006, a 6-4 win over New Mexico on March 30. Air Force starting pitcher Alex Truesdale (2-5) went the distance, striking out a career-high six batters in his first-career complete game.
Gentry and leadoff hitter Nathan Carter led the way offensively for Air Force’s 14-hit attack. Gentry finished the day 4-for-6 with five RBIs. Carter went 3-for-4 with a homer, double off the fence/foul pole and three runs scored.
The game started off with plenty of offense as the teams combined to score 13 runs in the first two innings. BYU opened the game with three runs, but Air Force rallied with three of its own in the bottom of the first, highlighted by Carter’s leadoff homer on the first pitch he saw.
The Cougars put three more runs up in the top of the second, but the Falcons answered right back with four runs to take a 7-6 lead. Air Force tacked on a run in the third to go up 8-6.
Kasey Ko hit a solo homer for BYU in the fifth to make it an 8-7 game. The Falcons scored a run in the seventh to go up 9-7. In the ninth, the Cougars pieced together two runs off four-consecutive hits to tie the game up.
Vai Schierholtz doubled just inside the right field line to start the ninth. K.J. Randhawa was later hit by a pitch and Chay Derbigny was intentionally walked to load the bases and set up a lefty-on-lefty matchup between BYU closer Jared Miller and Gentry. Gentry hammered the second offering from Miller deep over the fence in right-center and went on to get mobbed by his teammates when he crossed home plate.
The Falcons also had solid offensive days by Derbigny, Randhawa and Josh Meents. Derbigny went 2-for-4 with two runs, two RBIs and two stolen bases. Randhawa went 3-for-4 with three runs scored and Meents was 2-for-3 with two runs.
BYU had 13 hits on the day. Kent Walton led the Cougar offense, going 4-for-5 with three RBIs. Brandon Relf also homered for BYU. Cougar starter Jordan Muir went 2.2 innings allowing eight runs off seven hits. Reliever Sean Amerson (0-3) took the loss for BYU.
Game two of the series takes place tomorrow, April 25, back at Falcon Field.