College roundup: Utes produce hits, just not enough runs, against Bruins

Deseret News

Published: Saturday, March 31 2012 11:00 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — Despite outhitting the Bruins 14-9, the Utah baseball team fell to UCLA, 9-6, on Saturday afternoon.

Utah starter Brock Duke struggled with walks in the early innings, and the Bruins were able to take advantage to score a run in the first inning before he forced UCLA into leaving the bases loaded in the second inning.

The Utes got on the board in the third inning after hits from Tyson Gonzalez and James Brooks set up an RBI-double by Shaun Cooper. The Bruins rallied in the top of the fourth to score two runs on three hits, but Utah kept pace in the bottom of the inning with Trey Nielsen scoring after leading off the inning with a double to put the UCLA lead at 3-2.

UCLA looked to take control in the sixth inning, scoring three runs (all unearned after a Utah error) to take a 6-2 lead. Trevor Brown hit a bases-loaded two-RBI double to send two runs across in the inning. The Utes came back with two runs of their own in the bottom of the inning, after Nielsen and Jo Jo Sharrar got on base with two-out singles, Gavin Green drove in both runners with a single up the middle to put the score at 6-4.

The Bruins continued to increase their lead with two runs in the top of the seventh on a pair of hits. The Utes added a run in the bottom of the seventh, with Brooks leading off the inning with a home run. Morin just missed a home run in the inning with a double that hit high off the wall.

Utah added to its total in the eighth inning after an RBI single from Brooks following two batters reaching base after being hit by the pitch to put the score at 8-6. In the top of the ninth UCLA scored an unearned run following a leadoff double from Pat Valaika to put the score at 9-6.

Although Cooper led off the ninth with a single up the middle, UCLA got out of the inning with the help of a double play and a strikeout to end the game.

"I am happy with the way that we came back from last night," Utah head coach Bill Kinneberg said. "(UCLA) did a nice job with clutch hitting and keeping space between us, and we couldn't get them stopped. I was proud of our team for the way we kept coming back in the game."

Brooks and Nielsen led the Utes at the plate with three hits each. Brooks and Green each drove in two runs.

Duke threw five innings, allowing three runs on five hits with four strikeouts and four walks. Also throwing were Mitch Watrous, Kesley Kondo and Tyler Wagner.

Nick Vander Tuig pitched 52/3 innings for the Bruins, allowing four runs on nine hits with one strikeout. He was one of five pitchers for UCLA in the game. Scott Griggs came away with a save.

Utah and UCLA play Game 3 of the series on Sunday at 1 p.m. MT.

BYU BASEBALL: At Reno, Nev., a cycle by Brooks Klein amidst wind, rain delays and snow lifted Nevada to a 9-3 victory.

Klein singled in the second, doubled in the fifth, had a two-run homer in the seventh and a one-run triple in the eighth. The junior right fielder also scored after being hit by a pitch in the six-run first inning, which put BYU in a hole from which it couldn't overcome.

"It was tough conditions, but there is no excuse for walking three batters and hitting another with out an out to start the game," BYU coach Vance Law said. "It is really tough for any team to come back from that kind of demoralizing start."

Nevada (15-11) won the three-game series as BYU evened its record (11-11) after winning the first game.

The Cougars stranded 10 runners on Saturday, but had a couple of bright spots. BYU scored one run in the second inning when Jaycob Brugman got aboard with an error after Nevada benefited from a double play. Brugman ended up scoring twice on Austin Hall's two singles on the afternoon.

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