OREM — Like last year, BYU amassed more hits than in-state rival UVU on Tuesday night.
The difference in 2013? The Cougars made them count even more.
BYU exploded for 15 runs on 18 hits, more than enough to counter UVU's efficiency on 13 hits of its own. The result was a 15-7 BYU road win that snapped the Wolverines' four-game win streak while marking the Cougars' second win in a row after beating No. 22 Gonzaga over the weekend.
"I'm most happy with our offense, 'cause we just swung the bats well," BYU head coach Mike Littlewood said. "Defensively, we weren't sharp tonight. We weren't sharp up in Spokane, so that's a little bit of concern going up to Loyola Marymount."
Both teams went deep into their bullpens for the nonconference, in-state game. Their respective head coaches admitted that was the mutually discussed plan with the teams coming off long weekend series last week and facing long weekend series again this week.
The Wolverines, in particular, were generous in doling out opportunities, sending 11 pitchers to the mound, including three in the sixth inning.
"We weren't able to get comfortable with one pitcher," BYU designated hitter Bret Lopez said. "Really it just comes down to being disciplined at the plate and getting a pitch selection, a pitch that you want to drive."
Lopez's discomfort with the pitching changes may have been exaggerated — he hit two home runs on the night, including a two-run blast in the first inning.
After a four-run start, the Cougars appeared in danger of a season split with the Wolverines as they gave up a series of one-run innings while being shut out between the second and fifth frames.
At that point, BYU trailed 6-4.
Lopez's solo home run — his second homer of the night — kick-started a breakout sixth inning. Brennon Anderson singled in his first pinch-hit appearance of the night, stole second and advanced to third on an errant throw before scoring on a fielder's choice.
Trace Hansen's off-the-wall double drove in another run. Jaycob Brugman's single tacked on another. Two UVU errors padded the lead.
Six runs later, Lopez would see the plate again before UVU managed to retire the side, leaving BYU a 10-6 lead.
"We were swinging the bat really well today," Lopez said. "This is a whole different year, a whole different team. We've really been seeing the ball a lot better these last few weeks and putting some runs up there."
UVU tried to counter BYU's big innings with smaller strikes of its own. Aggressive baserunning saw Jordy Hart extend two shallow base hits into doubles.
"When you can hit 50 home runs (last year) as opposed to five (this year), you've got to be more aggressive," UVU head coach Eric Madsen said. "I thought it was the best night of baserunning we've had, almost since I've been in the program. They really were aggressive."
The Wolverines struggled to capitalize on all their scoring opportunities, however, stranding 13 runners on base, including four at third.
"You've got to have clutch hitting," Madsen said. "BYU, you've got to give them a ton of credit. They did that a lot tonight. They got a guy on second base and knocked him in. That's what good hitting clubs do."
BYU will look to extend its win streak at Loyola Marymount this week, while the Wolverines will travel to Northern Colorado for a conference series of their own.
Matt Petersen is the sports web editor for DeseretNews.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @TheMattPetersen.
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