PROVO, Utah – Junior Brennon Lund led No. 16 BYU baseball to a 13-1 home victory over West Coast Conference opponent San Diego on Friday.
“Sometimes you just have to grind it out against good pitching and that’s what our team has done so far this season,” BYU head coach Mike Littlewood said. “Tonight we did a really good job of seeing pitches which allowed us to swing at strikes and take balls.”
Lund continued his four game hitting streak, going 4-for-6 with two doubles and three runs. Freshman Keaton Kringlen also added three hits and three RBI and sophomore Colton Shaver was hit twice by pitches with two RBI on the night.
The league-leading Cougars improved to 25-4 on the season with a 9-2 WCC record while San Diego fell to 16-17 with a 4-7 record in the conference. The Cougar offense totaled 17 hits on the night and 12 RBI.
Maverik Buffo (6-1) earned the win, going six and a third innings and recording two strikeouts against 25 San Diego hitters. San Diego's starter Gary Cornish was the loser and lasted five innings, allowing seven runs off seven hits and facing 29 batters.
In the top of the second, USD’s Jerod Smith hit a breaking ball right up the middle to score Kevin Collard from second to give the Toreros a 1-0 lead.
In the top of the third, the Cougar defense kept the Toreros from scoring again after turning its second of three double plays on the evening. Buffo then picked off a USD baserunner to keep the Cougars within one.
Leading off in the bottom of the third, Jackson Cluff walked and Bronson Larsen singled to give the Cougars their first runner in scoring position. Still with no outs, Lund beat out a bunt single to load the bases.
The Cougars tied the game at one all after Hayden Nielsen hit a fielder’s choice that brought Cluff home and resulted in Larsen being put out at third. Shaver singled to right field to score Lund for what would be the game-winning RBI as BYU took a 2-1 lead.
In the bottom of the fifth the Cougars loaded the bases after a pitch hit Shaver. Kringlen drew a walk to score Larsen and BYU took a 3-1 lead.
In sixth inning the Cougar bats came alive. Brennon Anderson slid into first to beat out a ground ball and advanced to third on a wild pick off attempt by Cornish to start off the big inning. Cluff walked before Lund singled to center, scoring Anderson.
The next Cougar batter, Nielsen, took a high fastball off the helmet to load the bases. With Chauncey up to bat, Cornish threw a wild pitch scoring Cluff from third. Chauncey battled to a full count, fouling off seven times before drawing the walk from the San Diego reliever who finished out the count.
Shaver stepped up to the plate next and was hit by a pitch for the second time in the evening, scoring Lund and extending the Cougar lead to five.
Kringlen continued the hit parade with a single up the middle, collecting two RBI, scoring Chauncey and Nielsen. Urry doubled off the wall in right center and Shaver scored to make the score 9-1.
Daniel Scheenemann stepped in to pinch hit for the Cougars and ripped a single up the middle to score Kringlen for the final run of the 44-minute inning and the Cougars headed to the seventh with a 10-1 lead.
San Diego answered by loading the bases in the top of the seventh but Keaton Cenatiempo, pitching in relief for the Cougars, put away the next two outs and the BYU defense escaped without any damage.
A single by Larsen and a double by Lund put both Cougars in scoring position with no outs. Nielsen singled to right field, scoring both runners and the lead grew to 11.
The Cougars added their final run of the evening with back-to-back doubles from Grant Hodges and Lund, bringing the final victory tally to 13-1.
BYU will attempt to complete the series sweep against San Diego Saturday at 1:00 p.m. MDT at Miller Park. The game will be televised on BYUtv and the radio broadcast can be heard on BYU Radio/Sirius XM 143 and ESPNSports 960 AM.