SALT LAKE CITY — Despite coming back from multiple deficits, No. 24 BYU baseball ultimately fell to Utah 8-6 on Tuesday at Smith’s Ballpark.
“Utah is a scary team,” BYU head coach Mike Littlewood said. “Their record is not indicative of how good they are. We knew we had to pitch it, and for the most part we did throw it fairly well, but it’s hard to overcome a four-run deficit in the first. It was a typical BYU-Utah baseball game.”
After spotting Utah (8-15) four runs in the bottom of the first inning, BYU (21-6) got one back in the top of the second on a single by Brian Hsu that brought in Keaton Kringlen from third.
Down 5-1 in the fourth, Kringlen walked and Abraham Valdez singled to put two on for the Cougars before Hobbs Nyberg hit an RBI-single to center. After the runners moved to second and third on a wild pitch, the Ute pitcher threw wide past the first baseman in an attempt to get Brock Hale out on a short grounder. Both Valdez and Nyberg scored on the error, cutting Utah’s lead to 5-4.
Coming on in the third, right hander Jarod Lessar pitched three scoreless innings, allowing one hit and striking out three.
The Cougars tied the game back up in the top of the seventh. Mitch McIntyre tripled off the fence in left center and Valdez hit a two-out single through the left side to bring the score to 5-5.
Reid McLaughlin came to the mound in the seventh with the bases loaded and no outs and kept the damage to a minimum, striking out the first batter and coaxing the second out on a grounder to second base. However, the throw to first to complete the double play went wide, allowing a run to score and put Utah up, 6-5. Another groundout ended the inning.
BYU again tied the game in the top of the eighth. Hsu was hit in the head by a pitch, advanced to second on an error, then made his way to home after consecutive fly outs to make it 6-6.
But in the bottom of the eighth and with runners on first and second with two outs, the Utes hit a triple off the wall to take a two-run lead. BYU managed to get two runners on in the ninth, but a double play ended the game.
The Cougars will travel to face San Diego in a three-game series beginning Thursday, March 4, at 6 p.m. PT. The game will be televised on TheW.tv and can be heard on BYU Radio and ESPN 960.