The Cougars (14-1) overcame an eight-run deficit in game one to defeat Niagara (2-14). In the nightcap, BYU put up 14 more runs to defeat the Purple Eagles to clinch the weekend series and extend the win streak to eight games.
“I have to give credit to Trent (Pratt) our hitting coach. He works with all of the hitters and it is paying off,” BYU head coach Mike Littlewood said. “Everybody has a plan when they go up to the plate and they understand what’s expected from them in the lineup. I’m really happy for the guys.”
Favero led the Cougars with five hits off eight appearances at the plate, with five RBI including the go-ahead run in game one. Hale, a walk-on designated hitter recorded three RBI off two hits and a sacrifice fly in the second game.
“Tonight was great. Brock (Hale) is a special player and he had a great night for us,” Littlewood said. “He’s a pure hitter and it doesn’t matter who he faces, he’s going to hit the baseball.”
Pitchers Zach Brinkerhoff and Hayden Rogers earned the victories for the Cougars. Rogers pitched seven innings in the second game, posting a 2.60 ERA and allowed just one run while making several key defensive plays for the Cougars.
In game one, Niagara jumped on the Cougars early and often, taking advantage of three BYU errors to the tune of an 8-0 lead heading into the bottom of the fourth. The Purple Eagles got one run in the first, four in the second, two in the third and another in the fourth.
The Cougars put together their own big inning in the bottom of the fourth. Favero lined a single to center with two on, scoring both runs after a throwing error to cut the lead down to 8-2. BYU got another run on a sacrifice fly from Kyle Dean, making it 8-3.
The rally continued when Brennon Lund ripped a double to right center to drive in Bronson Larsen. The next batter, Hayden Nielsen singled in Hale. With the bases loaded, back-to-back wild pitches scored two more runs, making it a one-run game at 8-7. An RBI groundout by Eric Urry tied the game with BYU’s eighth run of the inning.
The 14th batter to come up in the inning, Dean roped a single to left field, driving in Colton Shaver for his second RBI of the inning to push the Cougars ahead 9-8 with all nine runs coming in the fourth.
BYU added on in the bottom of the sixth when Shaver legged out a double to left field, driving in Brennon Anderson for a 10-8 lead. Favero laced a two-run single to right center later in the inning, giving BYU a 12-8 cushion. The hit parade continued with Larsen doubling down the left field line to score Favero, giving the Cougars their 13th unanswered run.
Niagra cut the lead down to four with an RBI single to center after an error prolonged the inning in the top of the seventh. BYU got the run back in the bottom half of the seventh with an RBI single up the middle by Urry to score Anderson.
A bunt RBI single in the top of the ninth trimmed the lead to 14-10 but reliever Bo Burrup finished off the Purple Eagles earning the save to secure BYU’s game-one win.
The second game began quietly with no scoring until the Cougar bats returned to life in the bottom of the second inning.
Favero started the second inning with a single and the Cougars loaded the bases after Shaver walked and Urry singled to right. Hale ripped a base hit to left field, knocking in two runs to give the Cougars a 2-0 lead.
Up next, Dean bunted to load the bases again and Jackson Cluff hit a sacrifice fly to center that scored Urry and put the Cougars ahead 3-0.
After an error by Niagara loaded the bases again, Nielsen singled to right field to knock in two more runs and the Cougars held a five run lead after recording five hits in the inning.
In the third inning, the Cougars added to the lead after Shaver ripped a line drive to the left field corner for a leadoff double. Shaver advanced to third on a ground out by Urry before scoring on a sacrifice fly by Hale.
The Purple Eagles got on the board in the fourth after a leadoff double by Michale Fuhrman. Niagara's Joel Brophy bunted for a single and an errant throw by the Cougars allowed Fuhrman to score, making it 6-1.
Rogers responded with a quick pick-off move to put out Brophy and an athletic snag on a line drive by Owen Dziados to get the Cougars out of the inning.
The BYU bats answered again in the bottom of the fourth beginning with a triple from Cluff. Nielsen walked and Anderson scored both runners with a standup double to extend the Cougars’ lead to seven.
Leading 8-1, BYU added two runs in the fifth off a base hit by Nielsen, who had four hits on the evening, putting BYU ahead 10-1.
In the seventh, several players came off the Cougar bench to keep the offensive momentum going. Back-to-back doubles from Danny Gelalich and Casey Jacobsen gave BYU another run before pinch-hitter Keaton Kringlen homered to left field to make the score 13-1.
The Cougars scored their final run of the night in the bottom of the eighth after Court Iorg singled and eventually scored off a Purple Eagles’ throwing error with the bases loaded.
BYU looks for its third series sweep of the season Saturday’s game against Niagara at noon MST at Miller Park. The game will be streamed live online through TheW.tv, BYU Radio – Sirius XM 143. ESPN Radio 960 AM with Brent Norton calling live play-by-play.
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