The BYU Baseball team opened the season with a 4-game series sweep against back-to-back A-10 baseball champions St. Louis. The games were played at Cashman Field in Las Vegas. The Cougars crushed the Billikens with good pitching and lively bats, outscoring their opponents 48-15.
This is the first 4-0 start for BYU Baseball since 1998.
Game 1: BYU 21 St. Louis 7
Cougar fans are thrilled at the addition of freshman Kyle Dean to the roster. The top prospect made an impressive first impression. Dean went 4-for-5 at the plate, singling on his first plate appearance. In his 2nd at-bat, Dean crushed a pitch over the left field fence, a two-run shot that went an estimated 370 feet. Dean also drew a walk and scored a team leading four runs.
Fresh off his mission, sophomore Brennon Anderson went 2-for-4 and had a 7th inning 2-run homer that he'd probably been dreaming about for two years. Anderson was also steady in the field, perfectly handling all five of the grounders hit to 2nd.
Sophomore DH Colton Shaver picked up where he left off from last season adding a home run of his own. His swat scored three runs.
The Cougars generated 21 runs on 20 hits in their first game of the season. Eight of the nine players in the starting batting order registered a hit. All of them reached base.
Adding to the run support was a good outing by BYU's ace pitcher Michael Rucker. Rucker struck out eight batters in his six inning performance, surrendering two earned runs. Rucker picked up his first win of the season.
Game 2: BYU 5 St. Louis 0
In just his 2nd start in his BYU pitching career, sophomore righty Maverik Buffo gave the Cougars a gem on the mound. Buffo dominated the Billiken batters over eight scoreless innings. He stuck out four batters while holding St. Louis to just six hits -- an opposing batting average of .207! None of Buffo's offerings were hit for power, as all six hits went for singles.
To finish off Buffo's wonder job, Mike Littlewood turned to junior right handed pitcher Mason Marshall, who made short work of the Billikens in the 9th.
The star at the plate was leadoff hitter CF Brennon Lund. The speedy Lund hit 4-for-5. He also stole a base, while reaching home twice.
Game 3: BYU 11 St. Louis 3
Sophomore southpaw Hayden Rogers kept the pitching momentum going in a strong performance in Game 2 of the Saturday doubleheader. Rogers gave the Cougars six innings, five strike outs and two runs on seven hits.
In relief, left hander sophomore Riley Gates retired seven of nine batters faced, giving up just one run, which took the Cougars to the 9th. Closing out the game, BYU looked to freshman Jordan Wood to get the final three outs. Wood comfortably got the Cougars to win #3.
The Y batters collected 15 hits led by 1B/3B Nate Favero who went 3-for-5. The 6-9 hitters (Urry, Favero, Dean, Cluff) in BYU's batting order went a collective 8-for-15 with two base on balls and seven RBIs.
Game 4: BYU 11 St. Louis 5
On Monday, BYU returned to the field to face St. Louis one last time. The Cougars scored a run in the top of the 1st when Tanner Chauncey doubled to score Hayden Nielsen. BYU doubled their lead in the 2nd inning when Eric Urry homered to right field.
In the bottom of the 3rd, the Billikens were able to score on BYU right hander Connor Williams. Williams, a junior college transfer, gave up a bases loaded walk to give St. Louis a 3-2 lead. With no outs and the bases still loaded, BYU coach Mike Littlewood went to his bullpen. Leaning on lefty Bo Burrup. Burrup, a 6'5" 225-pound freshman from Pocatello, Idaho, was able to get the Cougars out of the inning, but not before giving up another two runs to make it 5-3, St.Louis.
In the top of the 4th, BYU responded immediately with four runs on RBI singles by Lund, Nielsen, and Chauncey.
The Cougars would never look back adding another two runs in the 5th and three runs in the 6th.
Burrup was awarded the decision for his 3 good innings and is now 1-0 on the season.
The unbeaten Cougars baseball team will now head to Birmingham, Alabama to play four games against a talented Samford University squad featuring talented outfielder Heath Quinn. Quinn was named Southern Conference Player of the Week as the Bulldogs swept Butler University in their opening weekend by a total of 46-7.