Cougar Sports With Ben Criddle

BYU Baseball Sweeps Niagara in Four-Game Series

BYU picked up a 15-3 victory behind a brilliant outing from Connor Williams and a grand slam in the bottom of the first from Eric Urry.

Provo, UT – It’s not too late to jump on the bandwagon for BYU Baseball. The Cougars have continued to build on their historic start and improved to 15-1 with a 15-3 victory over the Niagara Purple Eagles, Saturday afternoon.

On the bump for the Cougars was Connor Williams who was going for his first win on the season. Williams set the pace for the Cougars allowing one run on four hits over five innings and fanning seven opposing batters. Williams had struggled in previous starts with his control and keeping his pitch count low resulting in 14 walks over 6.2 innings. On Saturday, he kept that number to just two.

“I’ve struggled earlier in the season and when I went out there today I just tried to relax,” said Williams. “I just wanted to focus on throwing strikes because that’s where I’ve struggled. Going out there and having confidence that our team can make plays makes it a lot easier.”

Williams was in control early picking up two strikeouts in the first inning. The Purple Eagles struggled to catch his fast ball with was hovering around 92-94 mph while his off speed pitches kept them on their heels all game long.

The ‘Brigham Bats’ got it going early, putting five runs on the board in the first frame. Brennon Lund led off the inning with a walk and he was advanced to third on a Hayden Nielsen double to left field. Brennon Anderson drove in Lund on a sac fly to centerfield which advanced Nielsen to third. Nate Favero walked and advanced to second on a past ball. Colton Shaver was brought up to bat and Niagara prompted to intentionally walk him loading up the bases for Eric Urry. Urry took full advantage and took a 2-1 fastball over the right field fence.

“Urry has done that all year, we expect that out of him.” said Coach Littlewood, “Whether I put him in the four hole, the six hole or the seven hole, it doesn’t matter.”

BYU was able to take the momentum into the second inning adding another four runs. Lund led it off for the Cougars singling to right field. Lund advanced to second on a stolen base and then was able to swipe third base. Brennon Anderson reach base on a walk which put runners at the corner with Nate Favero up to bat. Favero was able to drive in Lund on a hit through the right side of the infield. Shaver and Urry picked up back-to-back RBIs, Shaver’s on a ground out to shortstop which scored Anderson, and Urry on a single up the middle. Urry eventually crossed home plate on a throwing error when Niagara attempted to catch Brock Hale stealing second base putting BYU up 9-0 through two.

“It feels good everyday that we walk on the field and feel like we’re going to win,” said Coach Littlewood. “It doesn’t matter who we play, we know that we are going to have a chance.”

The Cougars bats went quiet until the fifth inning when they added another five runs. Bronson Larsen was the first to reach base in the inning when he picked up a base on balls. Lund followed up when he was beaned by Bucci. Nielsen loaded up the bases with a single up the middle. Anderson and Favero then drove in one run a piece with singles. Shaver came up to bat with the bases loaded and picked up an RBI by drawing a walk. Urry picked up his sixth RBI of the day on a sac fly scoring Anderson then Brock Hale hit a double down the left field line scoring Favero.

It was the fourth straight game that BYU had scored 14 or more points.

Niagara was able to get a couple of runs of their own in the seventh inning when Jordan Wood took the bump for the Cougars. Wood allowed a lead off walk to Meisner and Meisner scored when Kirwer doubled to right field when Court Iorg laid out and was unable to reach the hit. Kirwer then scored on a fielding error by at shortstop when Schneeman entered the game for Nielsen.

Shaver immediately responded with a home run – his fourth of the season – to finish off the scoring at 15-3.

Triston Busse took to the mound for BYU in the top of the eighth inning and picked up one strikeout allowing two runners on a single and a hit by pitch. Mason Marshall assumed the closer role for the Cougars and sat down three straight batters picking up two strikeouts in his outing.

BYU Baseball will return to Miller Park on Tuesday to face in state rival, Utah at 6 pm. They will then begin conference play with a three game series against Pacific, those games will begin at 6pm, 6pm, and 1pm.

Those games will be broadcast on ESPN 960 AM with Brent Norton on the call.

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