Brock Hale extended his hitting streak to seven games with a game-tying two-run homer in a 9-3 win for No. 22 BYU at Santa Clara on Thursday. (Photo by BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)
SANTA CLARA, California—Home runs by Brock Hale, Colton Shaver and Kyle Dean with pitching by Maverik Buffo lifted No. 22 BYU baseball over Santa Clara, 9-3, on Thursday.
The Cougars strengthened their first-place standing in the West Coast Conference to 15-4 and their overall record improved to 27-14. Santa Clara fell to 7-12 in WCC play and 11-33 overall.
After trailing 3-0 through three innings, Hale’s two-run homer in the fourth inning tied the game. Shaver’s sixth-inning two-run blast, his 10th of the season, gave the Cougars the lead for good, extending the margin to 5-3.
"Maverik was as good as he's been all year," BYU coach Mike Littlewood said. "He did a nice job of regrouping and settling in after the 2nd inning. Our hitters did a great job of making in game adjustments at the plate by making (Grant) Nechak bring the ball up where we could put good swings on it. It was a great start to the weekend for us."
Starter Buffo figured it out after giving up four hits in the three-run second frame when he surrendered alternate back-to-back singles and doubles. He closed the second with a pair of his nine strikeouts in eight innings, scattering five hits, to improve his record to 6-5. Santa Clara got a single in the sixth for its only other hit of the game.
“Everything felt good,” Buffo said. “I’ve got a great team to back me up. I’ve gone back to the basics and it has worked out. My team battled at the plate and I knew we would come around and they would take care of me.”
Dean, the No. 8 hitter in the order, led off the eighth with a solo shot to increase the Cougar lead to 7-3.
Brennon Anderson’s two-out single jump-started BYU’s offense in the third when he extended his team-leading hitting streak to nine games and drove in Bronson Larsen for the Cougars’ first run of the evening.
Larsen hit consecutive doubles and was joined Anderson, Nate Favero and Hale as Cougars with two hits apiece. Hale added a double to his homer in the extra-base hit column, while Anderson, Hale and Shaver each had a pair of RBI.
The win is BYU’s 17th in the last 20 outings. Game two of the BYU-Santa Clara series will be Friday at 6 p.m. PDT.