Cole Gambill homered in a 12-5 win over UVU. (BYU Photo)

BYU baseball crushes UVU 12-5 in Crosstown Clash

A six-run seventh inning, paired with Wolverine pitching struggles, led BYU to a 12-5 victory in the Crosstown Clash with UVU at UCCU Ballpark in Orem Tuesday.

“I love the type of energy we brought today,” BYU head coach Mike Littlewood said following the win. “This is the kind of win we needed against Utah Valley. We really do put an emphasis on these in-state rivalry games and I was really proud of the way our guys came out and played.”

The Cougars got off to a hot start scoring two runs in the top of the first inning. Cole Gambill and Ryan Sepede got on base with two outs and both scored on a Wolverine error fielding Hayden Leatham’s single.

BYU pitcher Bryce Robison made quick work of UVU’s first three batters in the bottom of the first, allowing no hits and recording a strikeout to keep the score at 2-0. Eight different pitchers made an appearance during the game and Littlewood applauded their efforts.

The Cougars swung right back into action in the next inning, tacking on another two runs thanks to a Jacob Wilk double and an Alex Sardina home run. The dinger was the UNLV transfer’s first as a Cougar.

BYU scored another two runs in the top of the fifth to extend the lead to 6-0. The highlight of the inning was a Gambill home run over the right field wall, his fifth of the season. Leatham also roped a ball to right field, scoring Sepede who got on base with a walk and advanced to second on a steal.

Despite a second inning fielding error that put a UVU runner on base, BYU held the Wolverines hitless through four innings. That streak ended in the bottom of the fifth after a Kayler Yates double to center field followed by an RBI triple from Copper Hansen that cut the lead to 6-1. The triple was Hansen’s first of the year.

UVU scored another run in the bottom of the sixth to narrow the score to 6-2. The Wolverines got two runners on base early after back-to-back batters were hit by pitches. Both runners advanced on a passed ball and Cole Jordan scored on a Garrett Broussard groundout before the Cougars retired the inning.

BYU took advantage of poor UVU pitching in the top of the seventh, racking up six additional runs and taking a commanding 12-2 lead. UVU forced two early outs but quickly fell into a pitching slump and couldn’t stop the bleeding.

With the bases loaded, freshman Mason Strong singled up the middle for his first career hit, driving in Brock Watkins and Joshua Cowden.

“This is my first time back so it felt really good to get back on the field,” Strong said following the win. Strong suffered a knee injury before the season and is finally back to full health.

Sardina drove in another two runs with a pop-up single to right field, followed by Wilk scoring on a wild pitch. Mitch McIntyre got his first hit of the game, driving in one final seventh-inning run.

The Wolverines showed some fight in the latter innings, hitting a late pair of home runs, but it was too little, too late. BYU handed UVU its fifth-straight loss on the season and improved to 33-9 all-time against the Wolverines.

BYU has two days off before beginning its second conference series with WCC rival Gonzaga. The home series against the No. 23 Zags begins Thursday night at 6 p.m.

“It’s gonna be challenging this week,” Littlewood said. “I think it’s gonna be a battle, I’m looking forward to it. It’s gonna be two of the better teams in the league going head-to-head.”

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