The BYU baseball team won all four games against Hartford to sweep the season’s first home series.
Cougar starting pitcher Maverik Buffo started off the series’ final game on March 7 with a quick three-up, three-down first inning. The Cougars then took an early 1-0 lead after a Hayden Nielsen sac-fly scored sophomore outfielder Brennon Lund.
“Hayden was great for us all series,” BYU head coach Mike Littlewood said. “But that’s what we except of him now; he’s in the three-spot for a reason, and it was great to see him perform like I know he can.”
Hartford went on a run in the fourth and fifth innings, bringing in six runs to go up 6-1. BYU responded in the bottom of the fifth with six runs of its own, three of them coming off a big center field hit from Nielsen. The Cougars held Hartford to just one run in the last four innings to win the game, 11-7.
“We have a lot of depth and are comfortable in our roles,” BYU pitcher Keaton Cenatiempo said. “I have total faith in my offense, and they did what they’re supposed to.”
The first game of the series on March 5 got off to a slow start as the Cougars waited until the fourth inning before getting on the board with a run. But they were able to keep that inning going and drove in five runs off hits from five different Cougar hitters.
Jarrett Jarvis hit his first home run of the season in the bottom of the sixth, which added to Cougars’ lead. BYU held Hartford scoreless the rest of the way to win the game with the game 6-0.
“We talk about quality at-bats and being productive, and if you’re going to get out, be productive,” Littlewood said. “We did that today; we were disciplined at the plate, and the results showed on the scoreboard.”
The Cougars took the second game in the series 8-6 after being down by three runs heading into the sixth. Lund’s two-run single up the middle brought up Nielsen, who hit a line drive down the third-base line for a two-RBI double. Lund and junior Derrick Whitney scored later in the eighth to give the Cougars some breathing room heading into the ninth. A Hartford home run the final inning wasn’t enough to come back, and BYU held on for the win.
BYU caught fire in the third game and won 20-4. The Cougars’ scoring started early and often, and they were already up 5-0 after the second inning after Nielsen smacked a bases-clearing double off the center field wall. The Cougars put across another nine runs in the bottom of the fifth, two of those coming from Nielsen again on a bases-loaded single.
The series sweep improves BYU’s record to 6-10 on the season. Next up the team will head over to Orem for a one-game mini-series with UVU on Tuesday, March 10, at 6 p.m.