baseball

SAN DIEGO — A big day at the plate by sophomore Jackson Cluff and the Cougars catapulted No. 24 BYU to a 17-4 win over San Diego on Saturday at Fowler Park.

Cluff reached base every time he stepped up, hitting a two-RBI double in the first and a grand slam in the second, earning an RBI on a walk in the fourth, hitting a two-RBI single in the fifth, walking in the sixth and hitting a single in the ninth. All told, the sophomore finished 4-for-4 with nine RBIs, three runs and two walks.

“I’m really proud of the guys for putting the tough loss Friday night behind them and coming out and getting a must-win today,” BYU head coach Mike Littlewood said.

With two swings in two innings, Cluff and the Cougars went up 6-0 on the Toreros. A single by Noah Hill and double by Brock Hale were followed by Cluff’s double down the left field line in the first inning.

In the second, Keaton Kringlen was hit by a pitch, Brian Hsu singled and Hill drew a walk to load the bases. With two outs and a 2-0 count, Cluff brought four runs in with a grand slam to right field.

San Diego scored one run in the third, but BYU piled on three more in the fourth with the top of the order again coming through. Hsu singled and Hill and Hale drew walks to again load the bases for Cluff, who drew a third-straight walk for BYU on a 3-2 count to score Hsu.

Austin Deming followed Cluff with a sacrifice fly before Mitch McIntyre’s single scored Hale and pushed the Cougar lead to 9-1.

Five more BYU runs came in the fifth on five hits, including a two-RBI single by Cluff, a two-RBI double by Deming and a single by McIntyre. A single from Casey Jacobsen in the sixth brought in a single run.

On a day of offense, sophomore Justin Sterner threw strong from the mound to hold down the Toreros and earn his team-high sixth win of the season. Sterner went 5.2 innings and allowed three runs and a walk with four strikeouts.

Deming tacked on a late two-run homer in the seventh, the first of his BYU career, to finish with a career-best five RBIs.

BYU will next go up against Utah in Provo at 6 p.m. Tuesday.

— BYU Athletics

Sims sacrifice fly helps UVU pick up win over Northern Colorado: At Greeley, Colorado, Drew Sims hit a sacrifice fly that scored Kody Hall for the game-winning run in the top of the ninth inning to lead Utah Valley to a 5-4 road win at Northern Colorado on Saturday afternoon at Jackson Field in Greeley, Colorado. UVU secures the series win with two victories heading into Sunday’s final game.

UVU improves to 7-22 overall and evens its WAC record at 4-4. UNC falls to 6-20 overall and 2-6 in league play. UVU scored its five runs on nine hits while committing only one error. Northern Colorado tallied its four runs on seven hits.

With the Wolverines trailing 4-3 in the top of the ninth, Trevor Howell was hit by a pitch and took first to open the inning. Kody Hall then singled to right to put Howell in scoring position on third. Michael Beltran then knocked Howell in with a single to right field to tie the game at 4-4. Ryan Eastburn then sacrificed Beltran to second and Hall to third. Alexander Marco was then intentionally walked to load the bases with just one out. Sims helped give the Wolverines the lead as he hit a sacrifice fly to center field, scoring Hall from third to give UVU a 5-4 advantage.

Jesse Schmit closed out the game on the mound for the Wolverines, taking down the Bears in order to secure UVU the 5-4 victory. Blake Zeleny picked up the win on the mound as he improves to 1-1 on the year. The save is Schmit’s fourth of the season.

Paxton Shultz worked 6.2 innings, striking out an impressive nine batters. He gave up seven hits and four runs while walking five. Zeleny pitched 1.1 innings without giving up a run. He tallied a pair of strikeouts and walked just one batter.

Eastburn led the Wolverines at the plate, going 3-for-4 with two RBI. Hall and Beltran each went 2-for-3 on the day. Hall led UVU with two runs scored. Sims and Howell each registered a hit and scored a run.

Utah Valley goes for the series sweep against Northern Colorado at noon Sunday at Jackson Field.

— UVU Athletics

Cougar softball takes two from Loyola Marymount: At Los Angeles, BYU softball earned wins in two intensely contested games against Loyola Marymount on Saturday afternoon to open West Coast Conference play with the series victory.

“After a tough loss yesterday to open the series, we played two complete games today in a very intense environment,” BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said. “Both Autumn Moffat and Arissa Paulson pitch great games, our defense was stellar and we made great adjustments offensively throughout each of the two games. It was a great team effort.”

With Game One tied in the top of the seventh, lead-off hitter Lexi Tarrowsingled to right field to get BYU on base. Autumn Moffat advanced her to second on a sacrifice bunt, before a wild pitch sent Tarrow to third. After LMU switched pitchers, Marissa Chavez drew a walk.

With two outs, Vander Heide hit a ball to the shortstop, tallying a controversial single to score Tarrow. Both LMU coaches were ejected after arguing with the umpires, but the call stood. With Rylee Jensen batting, Vander Heide stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error while Chavez made it across the plate to make the score 4-2.

A diving catch from Jensen followed by a sliding snag from center fielder Vander Heide ended the game in BYU’s favor 4-2.

In the second game, BYU scored three runs in the top of the third on three Lion errors. In the bottom of the seventh, the Lions went three and out as Paulson struck out two of the three batters to give BYU the win 5-1.

The Cougars will play their final away game before a 10-game home stand against Utah State at 4 p.m. Tuesday in Logan.

— BYU Athletics

Wolverine softball splits bill at New Mexico State: At Las Cruces, New Mexico, Brianna Moeller went 3-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs as Utah Valley University topped New Mexico State, 9-7, in the first game of a Saturday doubleheader. The Wolverines (12-19, 4-5) dropped the night cap, 6-1, to give the Aggies (19-15, 3-3) the series win.

The Wolverines will return to Utah this coming week with a road contest at in-state rival Weber State at 4 p.m. Tuesday. Utah Valley hosts Seattle U in WAC play starting at 2 p.m. Friday before a Saturday doubleheader at 1 p.m.

— UVU Athletics