PROVO, Utah—A throwing error in the fourth inning allowed speedster Jacob Hannemann to score the winning run in BYU baseball’s 14-3 victory over Saint Mary's College on Saturday at Larry H. Miller Field.
"I thought that we finished the series the right way," BYU head coach Mike Littlewood said. "I don't think anybody here wanted to finish the regular season or this series on a sour note, taking a loss or even playing bad. We came out with a lot of energy. I was happy with their approach and the way they came out. They wanted to finish it the right way. "
The victory gave the Cougars (30-19, 15-8 West Coast Conference) a sweep of the series with the Gaels (21-34, 11-13 WCC).
With the victory, BYU secured the third seed in the WCC tournament as it faces No. 2 seed San Diego. The victory against Saint Mary’s College was BYU’s final home game and increased the Cougars’ win streak to a season-best six games. It was BYU’s first series sweep at home this season.
The Cougars bagged the game in the fourth inning when Brennon Anderson singled, just beating the pitcher to first base as Hannemann rounded third and ran home to give BYU the 4-3 lead. Hannemann singled, then stole second to get in position. With runners on second and third, Brock Whitney doubled to center field to bat in two more runs for the Cougars.
"We're happy that we clinched last night, but we wanted the three seed," second baseman Adam Law said. "It seemed like we peaked, but we're just rolling and nobody knows where the top is. As far as team chemistry, we're right where we need to be."
"Adam (Miller) struggled in the fourth inning and was really sharp in the fifth," Littlewood said. "It was nice to have him (Miller) go out of the game on a positive note.
"We swung the bats well. It was a great day with Senior Day and a good exclamation point. We didn’t want to finish on a negative." Seniors Mark Anderson, Matt Milke and Daniel Welch were honored in pre-game ceremonies.
Saint Mary’s right fielder Brenden Kalfus, who holds the WCC hitting streak record, ended his 36-game hitting run when he couldn’t beat Whitney to first base in the top of the seventh, the second of two groundouts on his afternoon which included a fielder's choice and a strikeout.
The Gaels picked up two runs in the top of the fourth inning to tie the score at 3-3 before a strikeout sent the game into the bottom of the fourth.
Saint Mary’s tied up the score 1-1 in the third frame, but Brennon Anderson answered with a homer off a full count to put BYU in the lead 2-1. A wild pitch sent Law to second, and Brugman was walked before Whitney stepped up to the plate. Whitney singled to left field, giving Law the chance to blow past third base and run home. Dakota Hernandez walked to load the bases, but once again the Cougars couldn’t take advantage.
BYU retired batters in order in the top of the first. In the bottom of the frame, Hannemann advanced to second on an errant throw. On the next Cougar hit he made it to third base, then ran home on Law’s sacrifice fly for BYU’s first run. The Cougars couldn’t capitalize on a bases-loaded situation, leaving three on base going into the second inning.
A Law single brought Hernandez and Hannemann home in the fifth. Brugman followed with another single to send Anderson home, increasing the Cougars’ lead to 9-3, and Whitney padded the lead with another RBI as Law ran home on a single.
BYU cycled through its batting order after recording its 11th run of the afternoon, with Hernandez batting in Whitney for a 12-3 lead. The Cougars put up six runs in the bottom of the fifth.
Brugman’s two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth pushed the BYU run count to 14.
BYU heads south to face Arizona State Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. PDT before traveling to Stockton, Calif., for the WCC tournament starting Thursday.