BYU baseball sweeps Saint Louis in season’s first series

Senior shortstop Hayden Nielsen runs during a drill in practice. Nielsen has four RBI’s on the season. (Natalie Stoker)

The BYU baseball team swept its first four-game series of the season against Saint Louis University in Las Vegas over the weekend.

The series started Friday, Feb. 19 with a 21-7 landslide win for BYU as winning pitcher Mike Rucker struck out eight Saint Louis batters.

“That kind of outing is exactly why Mike is our opening day starter and will anchor our staff,” said BYU head coach Mike Littlewood. “(He) set a great tone for us.”

The offense came from up and down the lineup as every Cougar starter had either a hit or RBI.

“I was extremely happy with our hitters, especially the bottom half of the order,” Littlewood said. “It’s great to see that kind of production from seven, eight and nine.”

The series continued with a doubleheader on Saturday. The Cougars shutout the Billikens 5-0 in the first game behind sophomore right-hander Maverik Buffo’s eight innings of work.

“Maverik was a workhorse and gave us the start we needed in game one (of the doubleheader),” Littlewood said.

Leadoff hitter Brennon Lund went 4-5 with three singles and a double along with one RBI and two runs scored in the victory.

“Brennon continues to set the offensive tone for us,” Littlewood said. “It’s good to see him get off to such a great start.”

The Cougars beat the Billikens for the third time in a row with an 11-3 victory in the second game of the doubleheader. Sophomore left-hander Hayden Rogers pitched six innings, giving up only two runs.

“Hayden did a nice job keeping Saint Louis off balance for six innings and gave us a quality start,” Littlewood said.

Freshman third-baseman Jackson Cluff had three RBI’s in four at-bats in the win.

BYU completed the sweep on Monday with an 11-7 win. The game featured six Cougar pitchers all pitching three innings or less. Lund, shortstop Hayden Nielsen and first baseman Tanner Chauncey each contributed to the offense with two RBI’s and second baseman Brennon Anderson had three RBI’s.

Lund was named the Rawlings West Coast Conference Player of the Week due to his offensive performance during the series.

The Cougars will travel to Birmingham, Alabama to take on Samford University in a four-game series starting on Thursday, Feb. 25.

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