BYU baseball: Cougars upset No. 2 LSU, 9-4

By Ralph R. Zobell

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, Feb. 23 2013 10:47 p.m. MST

BATON ROUGE, La. — Brennon Anderson’s three-run homer and Mark Anderson’s pitching elevated BYU baseball Saturday night to a 9-4 upset at No. 2 LSU.

BYU (3-5) handed the Tigers (5-1) their first loss of the season on the heels of LSU’s 6-5 victory over the Cougars on Thursday. LSU’s Friday evening game against Southeastern Louisiana was suspended after one inning until Sunday due to severe weather.

“Against all odds we came out with a great mindset and played a near-perfect game,” BYU coach Mike Littlewood said. “Mark (Anderson) set the tone for us and kept them off balance.

“Mark was unphased by the crowd and set a great example of how to compete, no matter who it is,” said Littlewood of his senior’s performance before a crowd of 6,742 at Alex Box Stadium, the sixth largest attendance in BYU history.

The Andersons, not related, each contributed in a big way to the Cougar upset.

Brennon Anderson’s three-run homer to left field put BYU up 6-1 in the seventh inning. The freshman second baseman from Draper, Utah, tallied five RBIs in a 2 for 3 effort batting in the No. 9 hole.

Mark Anderson, a senior southpaw from Moreno Valley, Calif., was the winning pitcher, improving his record to 1-0. He handcuffed the Tigers even though he registered no strikeouts, but had not surrendered a hit since the first inning.

With one in the seventh, Mark Anderson was replaced by Derek Speigner. Speigner got one more out, as two runs scored on a double, but left the mound with the bases loaded when he was relieved by James Lengal with the tying run at the plate.

“James (Lengal) getting the pop-out was the at-bat of the game,” Littlewood said. “That’s exactly what we needed and he showed tremendous mental toughness.”

Lengal garnered his first save of the season, continuing on for two more innings to close the game as the Cougars took a 9-3 lead into the bottom of the ninth.

LSU drew first blood with a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Dakota Hernandez’ sacrifice fly in the fifth inning enabled Brock Whitney to tie the score from third base, 1-1.

Whitney was one of several unsung heroes of the game, according to Littlewood.

“Brock did a lot of things that don’t show up in the box score, like picking three balls out of the dirt.”

Back-to-back doubles in the fifth and sixth innings by Kelton Caldwell also drew praise from Littlewood.

“Kelton had a lot of professional at bats in the middle of the lineup.

“I thought Adam Law played tremendous tonight, he was phenomenal at third base. He made a bunch of great defensive stops to his right, left and bare-handed.”

The upset over No. 2 LSU was BYU’s first over a ranked team since winning at No. 6 Arizona State in 2011.

“We played great defense, pitched well, and I knew we were going to find some success the way we had been playing,” Littlewood said. “Our hitters made great adjustments from game one against LSU.”

The upset took the bitter taste away from the Cougars as Southeastern Louisiana had defeated BYU on Saturday afternoon, 3-2.

The Cougars next play at Seattle on Tuesday and Wednesday before hosting Creighton this Friday as they open the home season in a three-game stand.

Ralph R. Zobell has worked for BYU Athletic Media Relations in various capacities for over 30 years. You can view his bio at http://byucougars.com/staff/athletics/ralph-zobell or contact him at ralph_zobell@byu.edu.

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