PROVO — With Stephen Strasburg on the mound, San Diego State is practically unhittable and unbeatable — at least in Mountain West Conference play.

Without Strasburg, however, the Aztecs are at least hittable and beatable. BYU found that out Friday at Miller Field, where the Cougars picked up a 10-4 victory over the Aztecs.

Strasburg, SDSU's sensational starter and one of the best pitchers in the nation, shut down BYU Thursday in an 8-1 win, yielding only two hits and striking out 15 Cougar batters.

But with Strasburg sequestered in the dugout Friday, the BYU offense exploded for 13 hits, including a good mix of bunts, solid situational hitting and two home runs.

Steve Parker smacked a leadoff homer off James McLaughlin in the second, opening the door for a five-run inning for BYU. In the sixth, the Cougars extended their lead on Sean McNaughton's two-run blast that cleared the scoreboard in left field.

Every Cougar starter but one recorded at least one hit and three had at least two hits, including a game-high three hits by McNaughton. Dan Vargas, Jonathan Cluff and Andrew Law contributed two hits apiece.

BYU coach Vance Law pointed out that even though Strasburg wasn't pitching, SDSU owns a deep and talented pitching staff.

"Our game plan was well-executed," Law said. "Our situational hitting was exceptional."

BYU starter Jake Wortham, naturally, appreciated the run support.

"That's always good," he said. "When the guys are playing like that, it's easy to settle down."

Wortham (4-4) earned the victory, pitching 6 1/3 innings. He gave up seven hits and four runs while walking four and striking out two.

"He's such a gutsy kid," Law said. "He's got a bad back right now but he gave us a great effort. He's a tough competitor."

Sean Amerson relieved Wortham and threw a scoreless 2 2/3 innings to close out the game.

"Amerson did an exceptional job out of the bullpen," Law said.

Meanwhile, one of the numbers on the box score that Law was most pleased with was zero — as in zero errors.

"We've been kicking the ball around lately. It's all about pitching, hitting and defense. We did well in all three areas tonight. It's the type of performance we expect out of our team."

SDSU's McLaughlin (3-1) was torched for five earned runs in one inning on the way to his first loss of the season. The Cougars improved to 20-32 overall and 8-12 in MWC play. The Aztecs dropped to 29-22 and 15-8. BYU and SDSU conclude their three-game series today at 1. It marks the Cougars' final home game of the season.


E-mail: jeffc@desnews.com