BYU baseball rallies to beat Utah, takes season series
BYU defeated Utah 13-7 on Tuesday night, capturing the three-game season series, 2-1, at Smith’s Ballpark in Salt Lake City.
Down, 7-3, through seven innings of play the Cougars rallied for four runs in the eighth inning and six more in the ninth. BYU’s offensive explosion was fueled by Dawsen Hall’s 2-2, two run, three RBI performance off the bench, combined with Cole Gambill’s lead off solo shot over the right field wall in the top of the ninth that proved to be the game winner.
The Cougars improved to 20-26 on the season, while Utah falls to 19-27.
“I’m really proud of the way our guys just kept fighting,” said BYU head coach Trent Pratt. “Everyone off the bench came in and did something to help us win tonight. Dawsen has been battling injuries since the fall and things haven’t been easy for him this year. For him to come in and do what he did tonight is a testament to his character. He shows up everyday prepared to what he can to help the team win. That’s what he did tonight. I’m real happy for him.”
BYU jumped on the Utes early with two runs in the bottom of first inning for a 2-0 lead. A single by Gambill to right field moved Parker Goff–who had been hit by a pitch–to third base. Ryan Sepede then singled through the right side of the infield to score Goff and move Gambill to third, where he scored on a wild pitch.
Utah got a run back in the bottom of the first inning off two hits to cut the Cougar lead in half, 2-1.
After a scoreless second inning, the Cougars picked up another run on three consecutive singles by Gambill, Sepede, and Cooper Vest for a 3-1 advantage. Three strikeouts by Utah relief pitcher Merit Jones ended the Cougar threat.
Utah responded in the bottom half of the inning with two runs on three hits and a BYU error to tie the game at three. The Utes then took the lead with four runs in the bottom of the sixth on two walks and four hits for a 7-4 advantage.
The Cougars tied the game, 7-7, in the top of the eighth on four hits, a walk and a hit batter. Sepede singled to lead off the inning and moved to second when Vest was hit by a pitch. Hall then entered the game as pinch hitter and promptly tripled into the left center gap to score Sepede and Vest. Following a full-count walk to Chase Peterson, Easton Jones doubled to right scoring Hall and putting runners on the corners. Pratt then singled to right scoring Peterson to tie the game.
“It was a great team win,” said Gambill. “Props to Dawson Hall for coming off the bench tonight and getting us those huge RBIs with his two hits. It really got the team going and gave us a chance to come back and win.”
BYU lefthanded pitcher Cutter Clawson came on in the eighth and held the Utes scoreless to send the game to the ninth tied.
Facing a 1-2 count to Utah closer Micah Ashman, Gambill hit a towering home run over the right field wall for what proved to be the game winning run. The Cougars tacked on five more runs with a walk by Sepede, and singles by Vest, Hall, Easton Jones, Ozzie Pratt and Parker Goff.
Clawson returned to the mound in the ninth and held the Utes scoreless for the win, improving his record to 2-2 on the year. Ashman (1-3), the Pac-12 leader in saves, took the loss for Utah.
The Cougars resume WCC play with a three-game series versus Pacific scheduled for May 11-13 at Klein Family Field in Stockton, California.
All three games will be broadcast live on the BYU Radio App and BYU Radio 107.9 FM in the northern Utah market, with Jason Shepherd on the call. The games will also be broadcast on the WCC Network.