Eric Urry’s grand slam in the first inning led BYU (15-1) to a fast start and 15-3 win to seal the series sweep over Niagara (2-15) on Saturday afternoon at Larry H. Miller Field.
“We talk about the three things we do in baseball: catch, pitch and hit, and we are doing all three of those right now,” BYU head coach Mike Littlewood said. "It feels good that we walk on the field every day and we feel like we are going to win. It doesn’t matter who we play. Against this team, we did what we had to do. We put up a lot of runs, we threw strikes and we played defense. We just need to keep this rolling.”
The Cougars continue their best start in team history and extend their current win streak to nine games. That win streak is tied for 10th best in team history.
BYU tallied 12 hits and 14 total RBIs on the afternoon. Urry led the Cougar offense, going 2-for-3 with a homer and six RBIs. Colton Shaver also had a great game, going 2-for-3 with a home run and three RBIs. Shaver capped a monster week, hitting 9-for-15 with two homers and six RBIs. Sophomore Brennon Anderson also currently leads the team with an eight-game hitting streak.
Starting pitcher Connor Williams (1-0) threw five innings for the Cougars and got the win. Williams led the BYU hurlers with seven strikeouts on the afternoon.
“Connor had the outing we’ve been looking for,” Littlewood said. “He has a tremendous arm. It was nice to see him have a great outing, and we are kind of waiting for Connor to settle in and be the kind of pitcher we know he can be. Eric (Urry) has done it all year long, so we expect that out of him. It’s nice to see him take good at-bats off of left hand pitching, but he’s just been great for us all year long.”
Brennon Lund walked to start the first inning, followed by a double from Hayden Nielsen down the left line to advance Lund to third. Anderson flew out to center, and Lund took advantage as the center fielder casually lobbed the ball to the cutoff, scoring and putting the Cougars up 1-0. After a wild pitch advanced Nielsen to third, Nate Favero walked and advanced to second on a pitch in the dirt. Niagara followed that up by walking the hitter Shaver to load the bases. Urry drove his grand slam over the right fence to put BYU up 5-0. That homer was his fourth of the year and his second grand slam of the season.
BYU continued its hot start in the second inning as Lund singled to right and then stole consecutive bases to advance to third. After a walk, Favero hit an RBI single to right, advancing Anderson to third and scoring Lund to put the Cougars up 6-0. Shaver plated Anderson with an RBI to set the score 7-0. Urry then ripped an RBI single up the middle to score Favero and extend the lead to 8-0. Niagara walked Brock Hale and moved Urry up to second, and then on a wild pitch, Urry took off for third and Hale went to second. A wild throw from the catcher allowed Urry to score and put BYU up 9-0.
A single to left with a runner on second in the fourth allowed Niagara to score its first run of the game and bring the score to 9-1.
In the fifth inning, with Bronson Larsen, Lund and Nielsen on base, Anderson hit an RBI single to left field and scored Larsen to push the lead to 10-1. Favero then singled up the middle, allowing Lund to score and put the Cougars up 11-1. BYU scored again to go up 12-1 as Nielsen made it home off a Shaver walk. Urry hit an RBI sac fly to score Anderson, followed by a Brock Hale double down the left line to bring the score to 14-1.
Niagara scored twice in the seventh on a double and an error to set things at 14-3. Shaver led off with a homer, his fourth of the year and 17th of his young career, to bring the final score to 15-3.
BYU plays host to rival Utah in the Deseret First Duel on Tuesday, March 15, at 6 p.m. MDT, at Miller Park. Fans can follow the game live through links on BYU's website, BYUtv, BYU Radio – Sirius XM 143 and ESPN Radio 960 AM.