LAS VEGAS—Hometown native Tanner Chauncey was one hit shy of the BYU baseball record Monday in an 11-7 victory over Saint Louis University.
The Las Vegas junior led the Cougars to their best regular season start at 4-0 since 1998. Chauncey was 5-for-6 in the finale at Cashman Field to complete a sweep over the Billikens to open the season.
Chauncey singled four consecutive times after doubling in the first frame, including tying the game at 5-5 when he drove in Brennon Lund in the fourth inning. Chauncey flew out to centerfield in the ninth frame.
Lund, BYU’s lead-off hitter, was unaware at that point he had been named the Rawlings West Coast Conference Player of the Week that afternoon for a 10-for-16 performance in the first three games. The Cougar centerfielder went 3-for-6 on Monday, tying Chauncey and Hayden Nielsen with a pair of RBI.
Nielsen scored BYU’s initial run in the first inning when Chauncey singled to left-center. The next inning BYU took a 2-0 lead when Eric Urry led off with a wind-aided home run over 328-feet to right field, a blast that may not have needed the gust.
The Billikens, 0-4, roughed up BYU starter Connor Williams in the third to take a 5-2 lead and chase him from the mound. Freshman lefty Bo Burrup shut down the Billikens, limiting them to one hit in three innings as his teammates regained the lead.
“I’m so proud of the way we came out today and played hard for nine innings,” BYU coach Mike Littlewood said. “It would have been easy to be satisfied with three wins, but the guys weren’t satisfied and they came out with great energy today.”
The Cougars rallied for four runs in the fourth after lead-off batter Colton Shaver dodged a bullet when the SLU first baseman dropped a pop foul in the windy, sunny weather. Then Lund, Nielsen and Chauncey went to work with two outs driving in the four runs for a 6-5 lead.
After Chauncey’s double in the first inning and Urry’s homer in the second, BYU got doubles in the sixth inning from Shaver and Kyle Dean, and Lund in the ninth. Shaver’s blast would have been a homer in many parks as it hit a couple feet below the 20-foot wall in right field.
“I couldn’t be happier with our offensive approach all weekend,” Littlewood said. “The guys have been working hard with Trent for months and it’s nice to see the results of that hard work.”
In addition to Burrup, the winning pitcher, the Cougars used four other relievers to gain experience for the upcoming weekend opponent in Alabama, Samford University, also 4-0.
“It was also good for us to get the new guys on our staff some work out of the bullpen in low pressure situations," Littlewood said.