Jacob Hannemann made the best catch ever witnessed by BYU coach Mike Littlewood in the Cougars' 5-2 defeat of Santa Clara. (Photo by Mark A Philbrick/BYU Photo)
SANTA CLARA, Calif. —Juniors Bret Lopez and Derek Speigner ignited BYU baseball Saturday to a come-from-behind 5-2 victory and three-game sweep over Santa Clara.
The duo helped BYU improve its record to 17-14 overall and 5-4 in the West Coast Conference, while Santa Clara fell to 8-21 and 0-9 in conference.
“Things didn’t go well for us early in the game, but we kept with it,” BYU coach Mike Littlewood said. “To sweep a team like this, I couldn’t ask for more from our guys.”
Lopez, BYU’s designated hitter, tied the game at 2-2 with a solo homer to lead off the seventh inning after Speigner retired four straight Broncos. The duo continued their onslaught against the Broncos in the remaining innings.
Lopez, who was 2 for 3 with three runs and a pair of RBI, increased BYU’s lead, 4-2, with a run-scoring double in the eighth.
“Bret is really swinging the ball well,” Littlewood said of Lopez, who has a current four-game hitting streak. “It ended up paying off. He is a professional-type hitter who is going up to bat with a plan.”
Speigner continued with his unorthodox delivery, holding the Broncos hitless in his 4.1 innings of relief to earn his third win of the season. Speigner had replaced freshman starter Keaton Cenatiempo in the fifth inning with runners on second and third.
Cougar freshman center fielder Jacob Hannemann committed an error which allowed Santa Clara to take a 2-1 lead with two outs, but he atoned with an inning-ending catch off a Casey Munoz blast.
“It was the best catch I’ve ever seen in my life,” Littlewood said. “Hannemann dove straight behind him and gained ground on the play.”
In addition to Lopez, Speigner and Hannemann, other Cougars like juniors Brock Whitney and Adam Law found ways to contribute.
While Whitney didn’t deliver in the first inning when BYU stranded runners on second and third, he singled in Law with the go-ahead run in the eighth. Law began that inning with a lead-off double and Whitney scored on Lopez’ double.
The Cougars take a break from league play, hosting Washington State and Utah on Monday at 10 a.m. and Tuesday at 6 p.m.