The BYU Cougars baseball team swept the Kansas Jayhawks in a 3-game series in Lawrence, Kansas. The Cougars 3 victories can in a variety of way. Whether it was driving the ball over the outfield fence time and time again, or stealing bases, bunting, and advancing runners, or key fielding plays, or quality starting pitching, long relief, or emergency relief. For every difficult scenario, the Cougars had an answer. BYU displayed a variety of ways to find victory. An amount of variety that would make Baskin Robbins jealous.
The Y improved to a 10-1 record -- the best start in BYU baseball history.
Here's a more detailed look at each game:
Game 1: BYU 11 Kansas 10
The Cougars hit 5 home runs in this game that kept the scoreboard operator busy.
The star of this game was Freshman RF Kyle Dean. Dean went 4-for-5 with 3 home runs and 5 runs batted in.
Eric Urry and Bronson Larsen each had a 2-run homer in the game.
The bats were swinging well as every member of the Cougar batting order recorded at least 1 hit.
Cougar pitchers had a rough afternoon. Michael Rucker gave up 5 runs in 3.1 innings. Mason Marshall also gave up 5 runs in 0.2 innings.
The bright spots came from Bo Burrup and Keaton Cenatiempo. Bo Burrup was awarded the win after his scoreless 3.1 innings. Burrup is 2-1 on the season with a 0.90 ERA in 10 innings of work. Cenatiempo made a 2-out save halting the Jayhawks 5-run bottom of the 9th.
Game 2: BYU 8 Kansas 2
Sophomore hurler Maverik Buffo was very good in his 5.1 inning effort. He gave up 7 hits, 2 earned runs, and struck out 5 while walking 2 batters. Buffo's winning performance is his 2nd of the year.
Of course, keeping runs off the board also means that the fielding effort behind the mound must generate outs. Perhaps the fielding play of the year was made senior LF Eric Urry when he made an amazing 2-run-saving diving catch to get Buffo out of a 4th inning.
Check out @EricJUrry's awesome diving catch! @BYUBaseball #SCTop10 pic.twitter.com/BwGU6M3qZt— Keith Shirts (@CougarCast) March 5, 2016
At the plate it was the opposite of game 1. It was all about small ball and advancing runners. The efforts of Brennon Lund as the leadoff batter were tremendous. Lund reached base in 4-of-5 plate appearances. Lund hit 2-for-3 driving in a run and drawing 2 walks. Lund crossed home plate twice.
Brennon Anderson would do the job of driving in Lund. Anderson was 2-for-4 with 3 RBIs.
Urry along with his awesome catch added 2 hits and 2 RBIs.
Game 3: BYU 7 Kansas 6
Connor Williams started on the mound for the Cougars. Williams has an arm that generates great velocity. Control is the concern for Williams. At times, he was absolutely dominate. Kansas batters couldn't catch up to his heat. Williams had 3 strikeouts.
BYU pitcher Connor Williams felt that sweet Jayhawks swinging wind. Nice strikeout! #BYUBaseball pic.twitter.com/VLgNg3qIud— Keith Shirts (@CougarCast) March 5, 2016
Connor Williams with a strike out with batter swinging on all 3! 3rd K today! @BYUBaseball pic.twitter.com/7Rx1jVtKUw— Keith Shirts (@CougarCast) March 5, 2016
Despite not surrendering a hit, the Jayhawks were able to generate 3 runs against Williams. Williams hit a batter and surrendered 6 walks. Kansas baserunners were able to capitalize on a throwing error by 3B Jackson Cluff. Cluff wasn't able to connect his throw with 1B Nate Favero. The mistake scored a Jayhawk run. Williams pitching with the bases loaded would walk home two consecutive batters. Kansas 3 BYU 0 at the end of 3 innings.
BYU would quickly get back in it in the top of the 5th. The Cougars loaded the bases by drawing walks when Eric Urry grounded out to 1st, but was able to drive in Brennon Lund from 3B. Kansas 3 BYU 1.
The next batter, DH Colton Shaver gave the Cougars the lead with a BLAST! A 3-run shot to centerfield. BYU 4 Kansas 3.
WATCH: @ColtonSshaver blast 3-run HR putting @BYUBaseball in the lead! Then get love from the mustache mob! 4-3 BYU pic.twitter.com/oW4wqX3VBI— Keith Shirts (@CougarCast) March 5, 2016
The Cougars 5th run came off the bat of Eric Urry. Urry hit a ground ruled double with Cougar runners on the corners. The ball bouncing over the outfield wall was a bad break for BYU. Urry's hit would have driven home both Anderson and Nielsen. Instead, just Nielsen as Anderson had to hold up at third by rule.
In relief of Williams was Hayden Rogers. Rogers gave the Cougars good work over 3.1 innings. Rogers was steady, but made two mistakes. The Jayhawk batters were able to hit two home runs. A solo shot in the 5th and a 2-run homer in the 6th. Kansas 6 BYU 5.
Following Rogers was it was dinnertime as Keaton Cenatiempo became the next Cougar hurler on the mound. Cenatiempo gave 2.1 scoreless and hitless innings. Cenatiempo was credited with the win. His first on the season.
The Cougars needed a run in the top of the 9th inning. The lead off batter was Colton Shaver.
WATCH: @ColtonSshaver lead off ground ruled double in top of 9th. Start of @BYUBaseball rally! pic.twitter.com/dtRLMlrGfO— Keith Shirts (@CougarCast) March 5, 2016
Shaver was pinch run for by Court Iorg. Shaver was 4-for-5 on the game with a HR, Double, and 3 RBIs.
With a man on 2nd, Nate Favero took to the plate. Kansas' infield closed in expecting a bunt. Instead they got this:
WATCH: Nate Favero's game winning 2-run homer to take @BYUBaseball to a team history best 10-1 start! pic.twitter.com/d8NwKUFnE6— Keith Shirts (@CougarCast) March 5, 2016
The Comeback Cougars! Favero's heroic hit puts BYU ahead 7-6.
Mason Marshall came on in the 9th and finished the job. Recording his 2nd save of the season.
Cougars sweep the Jayhawks.
After beginning the season with 3 straight weeks on the road, BYU baseball is finally making their debut at Miller Field on Tuesday against Utah Valley University. The game starts at 6PM MST. It will be available to watch on theW.tv.
If any team deserves a heroes welcome at a home opener it is this group of talent players representing Brigham Young University on the diamond. If you can find a way out to the ballpark on a Tuesday night, do it!