Doubleheader sweep over Saint Louis 5-0 and 11-3


LAS VEGAS—Junior Brennon Lund and a pair of sophomore starting pitchers secured a doubleheader sweep Saturday for BYU baseball over Saint Louis University, 5-0 and 11-3.

BYU, 3-0, got eight innings from right-hander Maverik Buffo in the 5-0 opener and six innings from lefty Hayden Rogers before 500 fans at Cashman Field.

“Maverik was a workhorse today and gave us the start we needed in game one,” BYU coach Mike Littlewood said. “Hayden Rogers did a nice job keeping Saint Louis off balance for six innings and gave us a quality start.”

Before Buffo took the mound in the opener where the Cougars were the visiting team, Lund started his terror of a 6-for-10 afternoon. He led off beating out a single up the middle to start game one in which he had a 4-for-4 outing with three singles and a double. He scored BYU’s first run after alertly stealing third base in the eventual shutout.

“Brennon (Lund) continues to set the offensive tone for us and it's good to see him get off to such a great start,” Littlewood said.

All told, Buffo threw 101 pitches, gave up six hits in eight innings, setting the Billikens down in order in the second, fourth, fifth and seventh innings.  In particular, fanning SLU right fielder Trent Leimkuehler with a called strike on full count for out number two in the seventh was impressive.

Not to be denied among the sparkplugs for the day was BYU freshman third baseman Jackson Cluff.

“The at-bat of game one in my mind was Jack's RBI single in the sixth where he battled off a couple good sliders and found a way to get a guy home.  It's nice to see production like that from our young guys,” Littlewood added.

That single by Cluff scored Eric Urry, then Lund doubled off the right-field wall to plate Cluff, putting the Cougars up 4-0 with one out.

A couple of unsung contributors for the afternoon were senior Hayden Nielsen and sophomore Nate Favero.

“Hayden (Nielsen) hasn't skipped a beat from last year getting huge two-out hits for us,” Littlewood said.

Nielsen had a two-out single in the four-run sixth of the nightcap. Setting the scene for that sixth inning, Urry beat out a bunt with one out and alertly stole third on a pitch in the dirt after Favero collected the second of his three consecutive singles. Kyle Dean walked and then Cluff stroked a two-run single down the right-field line for the game-winning RBI.

Then came Nielsen’s single through the middle to score Dean. Cluff scored the fourth run as Tanner Chauncey duplicated Nielsen’s feat. In doing so, Chauncey extended his current hitting streak to 14 games.

After that sixth inning, Rogers was replaced on the mound by a pair of young Cougar hurlers.

“I really liked what I saw from Riley Gates and Jordan Wood tonight,” Littlewood said.  “We need guys to step up in the pen and shut things down. Mason Marshall did it in game one, and we were able to shut it down in game two as well. Overall, just a really good day for the entire program.”

The four-game series with Saint Louis University concludes Monday with a noon PST game in Las Vegas where admission is free.