BYU baseball conquers Santa Clara in three-game sweep

BYU pitcher Mark Anderson throws a pitch during Tuesday's game against UVU at Miller Park. (Photo by Chris Bunker)
BYU pitcher Mark Anderson throws a pitch. (Photo by Chris Bunker)

The BYU baseball team defeated the University of Santa Clara in three consecutive games on Thursday, Friday and Saturday this weekend. The Cougars won Thursday’s game 3-1, Friday’s 8-2 and defeated the Broncos on Saturday 5-2.

The Cougars improved their win-loss record to 17-14 from the three-game series in California.

“Things didn’t go well for us early in the game, but we kept with it,” BYU coach Mike Littlewood said. “To sweep a team like this, I couldn’t ask for more from our guys.”

BYU struggled early and found it difficult to score in Thursday’s game. Coach Mike Littlewood said outfielder Jacob Hannemann carried the Cougars’ offense to victory by hitting a two-run homer in the seventh inning and pitcher, Desmond Poulson, led the defense.

“He has done it every single outing,” Littlewood said of Poulson. “I’m amazed at what he’s done. His velocity got better as the night went on. He was constantly working ahead of hitters and in the rare occasion he did fall behind he came right back at them and didn’t give in.”

Poulson said he observed the batters’ behavior to deliver the right pitches at the right times.

“Coach told me I just have to spot up and they didn’t have any lefties, so I made sure my slider was where I needed it to be,” Poulson said. “They didn’t capitalize on my mistakes tonight except one. I saw some weird swinging on balls that were high, so I knew something was up.”

BYU beat Santa Clara again on Friday. Each player in the line-up collected a hit, except for one, for a total of 14 BYU hits in the game. Pitchers Adam Miller and Matt Milke teamed up to help keep the Broncos at bay.

“When his (Milke’s) slider is on, he is tough,” Littlewood said. “He throws his slider like most pitchers throw their fastball. He really did a nice job.”

Littlewood also noted Adam Miller’s performance, stating they relieved him as a physical precaution.

“Adam (Miller) had stiffness in his back so we had to take him out earlier than we wanted, but he is becoming more of a pitcher than a hard thrower,” Littlewood said.

The Cougars had scored six points by the end of the third inning, and only let the Broncos put two runners past home plate in the fourth.

BYU ended the three-game series in a 5-2 victory over Santa Clara on Saturday. Bret Lopez and Derek Speigner combined to overcome the Broncos both on offense and defense.

“Bret (Lopez) is really swinging the ball well,” Littlewood said. “It ended up paying off. He is a professional-type hitter who is going up to bat with a plan.”

The Cougars began the game trailing the Broncos 2-1 until the seventh inning, when Lopez began the inning with a home run to tie the score, and continued to provide scoring opportunities the rest of the game.

The Cougars return to Provo to host Washington State and Utah on Monday at 10 a.m. and Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Miller Park.

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