PROVO, Utah (April 7, 2016) – Juniors Tanner Chauncey and Michael Rucker led No. 16 BYU baseball to a 12-2 win over the University of San Diego, snapping a streak of 16 consecutive losses to the Toreros on Thursday night at Miller Park.
BYU's last win against San Diego came during the 1980 season.
"It felt different than it did Monday," BYU coach Mike Littlewood said. "I said we're going to come out Thursday and play just like we have all the time and we did. It was a tough game and a great game."
The Cougars improved to 24-4 overall and 8-2 in West Coast Conference play by scoring 10 runs during the sixth and seventh innings in front of 2,681 fans - the sixth-largest crowd in Miller Park history. USD dropped to 16-16 and 4-6 in the league.
Chauncey went 3-for-5 with a double, drove in three runs and scored two more to lead the offensive charge. BYU also picked up two-baggers from freshman Jackson Cluff, sophomore Brennon Anderson and junior Bronson Larsen. Larsen went 2-for-3 with a walk, three RBI and two runs.
Rucker earned the win to move to 7-0 on the season. He allowed two earned runs through 6.2 innings, scattered eight hits and struck out six.
San Diego struck first in the top of the third when Roman Garcia homered to center on a 3-2 count to make it 1-0. The Toreros threated with another runner at second but Rucker got a lineout to center to get out of the inning with just the one blemish.
Sophomore Nate Favero led off the bottom half of the inning with a shallow double to right off the glove of a diving Hunter Mercado-Hood. After a wild pitch moved Favero to third, Larsen roped a double into the gap in right center to plate Favero, evening up the score at 1-1.
Still in the third, junior Brennon Lund grounded out to second but advanced Larsen over to third. Senior Hayden Nielsen hit the first pitch he saw hard through the left side to score Larsen for a 2-1 lead.
Three straight base hits for the Toreros to start the top of the fifth evened the score at 2-2 when the third one just cleared the outstretched glove of second baseman Anderson. Rucker struck out the next batter and intentionally walked Mercado-Hood to load the bases for a shot at a double play. Right on cue, a tailor-made ground ball on the first pitch went to Anderson at second for the 4-6-3 double play to get out of the jam.
San Diego threatened in the bottom of the seventh with the bases loaded and two outs. Sophomore Hayden Rogers relieved Rucker and threw one pitch for a ground out to short to protect BYU’s 4-2 edge.
Cluff pinch-hit and laced a double to right field to lead off the bottom of the seventh inning. The Cougars loaded the bases after a walk to Larsen and Lund was hit by a pitch with no one out yet. After a soft lineout from Nielsen, Chauncey crushed a ball deep over the left fielder’s head for a bases-clearing double to open up a 7-2 lead.
BYU wasn’t finished yet when Anderson took a pitch off the back to score another with the bases full, followed by a walk to Cluff for another run. Two more runs came in on the bloop-single from Larsen and an RBI single from Lund capped an eight-run inning and a 12-2 BYU advantage. The Cougars sent 13 batters to the plate in the inning.
Rogers and freshman Easton Walker held San Diego scoreless the rest of the way and BYU took game one of the three-game series against the Toreros.
BYU and San Diego return to Miller Park Friday at 6 p.m. for game two which will be streamed on TheW.tv and ESPNSports 960 AM and Sirius XM 143.