Preseason league favorite Loyola Marymount University avoided being swept by defeating BYU baseball, 8-2, on Saturday.
BYU (17-18, 8-7 West Coast Conference) won the first two of the three-game series before LMU (21-15, 9-6) bounced back behind the pitching of freshman Sean Watkins, who kept his record unblemished at 3-0. Watkins contained the Cougars with six hits in as many innings behind a stellar Lion defense.
“LMU did a nice job of outlasting us today,” BYU coach Mike Littlewood said. “We battled hard for six innings and just didn't have what it took to finish the deal. Brady (Corless) gave us five good innings of work and our pen kept us close.”
After falling behind 2-0 with Brady Corless on the mound, BYU tied the game in the third inning on a two-run single by Tanner Chauncey that scored Bronson Larsen and Brennon Lund on juiced bases. However, when bases were loaded in the seventh, the Cougars came up fruitless after three-consecutive singles.
The Lions took a 3-2 advantage before a solo homer from Jimmy Jack to lead off the sixth and a two-run dinger from Austin Miller that same frame.
“I felt like we had the mindset that after two wins our job was complete and kind of went through the motions a little bit,” Littlewood said. “Overall, I'm happy with the series win as it allows us to keep pace with the top teams in the league. We need to finish the trip on a positive note by going to Northridge Monday, playing well and hopefully picking up a win before coming home."
Three Cougars extended their hitting streaks — Lund (15) with a double, Eric Urry (nine) and Larsen (eight). BYU had won six of its last seven games prior to Saturday.
The Cougars end this portion of their second of three scheduled trips to California on Monday at 3 p.m. PDT, against Cal State Northridge.