Offensive explosions are expected from the BYU baseball team.
Tuesday’s 14-2 victory at Utah Valley produced a season high in runs as the Cougars prepare for an important West Coast Conference road trip to Pepperdine. The 14 runs topped the previous season high of 13, set on March 9 against Nebraska-Omaha.
Last year, BYU averaged eight runs per game and hit .319 overall. This year’s Cougars have produced a little better than six runs per game and are hitting .284 as a team.
There’s work to be done, but Tuesday’s production was encouraging.
“We haven’t been able to do that all year,” BYU senior second baseman Brennon Anderson said. “Being able to put up a big number gets us going for the Pepperdine series (this weekend). It gets us relaxed and we always play better when we play relaxed.”
Anderson did a ton of damage from his leadoff spot, going 3-for-5 with a grand slam, two doubles and 6 RBIs. Brian Hsu drove in three runs and also homered. Seven of the Cougars’ 13 hits went for extra bases.
“We’re just being persistent,” Anderson said. “It’s hard to go from a team (last year) where we could hit back-to-back-to-back home runs to a team where we kind of have to move runners over. We’ve got to figure out our identity, and I feel like we’re starting to do that. As we do that, the numbers start rolling.”
Two walks and an error by Utah Valley allowed BYU to load the bases in the top of the second. Anderson greeted reliever Jake Carr by blasting a pitch deep over the second fence in left field for a grand slam and a 4-0 lead.
“It was a 3-1 count and a fastball,” Anderson said. “I was sitting on it. He missed up in the zone and I got it elevated. At this ballpark when you get the ball elevated, good things happen.”
BYU added a run in the third when Brock Hale scored from third on a passed ball and another on a solo home run by Hsu in the fourth. UVU broke into the scoring column in the third, Trevor Peterson coming home on a Michael Beltran ground out. Trevor Howell added a solo home run in the fifth to trail BYU 6-2.
The Cougars notched four runs in the sixth, including Anderson’s two-RBI double, for a 10-2 advantage. Nate Favaro came home on a Jarrett Perns double in the seventh. In the eighth, Hale led off with a triple to right, followed by an RBI single by Keaton Kringlen and an RBI double by Favaro and the score became 13-2.
An RBI groundout from Hsu in the ninth pushed the Cougars to their season high in runs scored.
Bo Burrup pitched 4 2/3 innings, allowing four hits and one earned. Kendall Motes, who pitched 2 1/3 innings in relief, earned his first win of the season.
“I thought we played well tonight,” BYU coach Mike Littlewood said. “Our defense was great and our pitchers did a nice job. I think guys like Brock and Brennon are starting to take better swings. Keaton is starting to take better swings. Overall, I think our offense is coming along.”
BYU (13-10 overall) is 2-4 in WCC play as it travels to Malibu, California, on Thursday for a three-game series against Pepperdine.