No. 23 BYU picked up the series victory and its 20th win of the season downing Loyola Marymount, 7-4, on Saturday afternoon at Larry H. Miller Field.
“I told my wife before the game that this was a must-win because it’s against a team that we need to own the tiebreaker against when it comes tournament time,” BYU head coach Mike Littlewood said. “It was also important for us to get our confidence up and get us rolling again.”
With the victory in the series rubber match, BYU improves to 20-3 on the season and 4-2 in the West Coast Conference. The win puts the Cougars in a tie with Saint Mary's for first place atop the conference. LMU drops to 10-14 overall, 3-3 in the WCC.
“I was really happy with our guys today and the resiliency they showed," Littlewood said.
Brennon Anderson had a solid day at the plate going 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Bronson Larsen was on base twice as he went 1-for-3 with a two-run double and a walk. Brennon Lund and Keaton Kringlen both had two-hit days. Brock Hale picked up the game-winning RBI when he drew a walk as a pinch hitter in the fifth inning.
Connor Williams started for the Cougars, lasting three innings and giving up two runs on six hits, two walks and striking out three. Freshman Easton Walker picked up the victory, his first in his BYU career, in 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. Hayden Rogers came on in relief to pitch three innings, and Mason Marshall came in to record the last out of the game.
Jamey Smart got LMU on the board first when he hit an RBI single in the top of the first inning to put the Lions up 1-0.
In the bottom of the second, Nate Favero cranked a one-out triple off the wall in center field. Larsen hit a two-out double later in the inning to drive in Favero and Eric Urry and give the Cougars their first lead of the game, 2-1.
LMU’s Cassidy Brown doubled down the left field line in the top of the third. Smart singled him in to even the score at two.
BYU broke the game open in the bottom of the fifth. Larsen drew a leadoff walk, and he later scored on a Tanner Chauncey fielder’s choice. The Lion pitchers struggled to find the strike zone, issuing five free passes in the inning. Lund extended his team-leading hitting streak to six games with a single in the frame. Colton Shaver went hitless on the afternoon to end his hit streak at 12 games. Anderson drove in a run with an RBI single and pinch hitter Hale picked up the game-winning RBI when he drew a walk with the bases loaded. Kringlen also took a base on balls with the bases full, and Urry capped the scoring for the Cougars with an RBI sacrifice fly in the inning. BYU led after five innings, 7-2.
No more runs were scored by either side until a two-run homer from LMU’s Smart in the top of the ninth to cut the lead to three runs. Smart drove in all four of the Lions’ runs in the game. Marshall came in with two outs in the ninth to close things out and give BYU the 7-4 victory.
The win against LMU ends a 12-game home stand. The Cougars play next at home on the afternoon of April 4, against Arizona.
Up next for the Cougars is a three-game road trip next Thursday through Saturday against the Portland Pilots. Fans can follow the weekend series live on BYU's website, BYU Radio – Sirius XM 143 and ESPN Radio 960 AM.
Blake Dorton is a BYU student studying broadcast journalism and French. He hopes to pursue a career in sports broadcasting after graduation. You can follow him on Twitter @BlakeDorton.