Clichés aside, BYU baseball’s rivalry game Tuesday night at Utah is one where both teams try to get back on track.
The Deseret First Duel between the two teams will be televised live on the Pac`12 Network from the newly named Smith’s Ballpark.
BYU (8-17, 1-5) and Utah (9-13, 0-6) are coming off league losses and will use Tuesday’s tilt as a springboard when they return to conference action.
Transfer Michael Springer (0-2, 9.77) takes the mound for BYU against Dalton Carroll (1-1, 6.35). BYU won the first of four games this season against Utah, 20-3, earlier this month in Provo.
“No matter what the record, this is a big game, so we will go at it like we approach a league game,” BYU coach Mike Littlewood said.
“We need to come away with a couple of wins this week. We have a tired, beat-up team, kind of like a puppy dog with its tail between its legs. Last week we started to see a little glimpse of fight in our guys.”
The Cougars picked up their first conference victory last week at San Francisco and look for some momentum for the three-game series at league-leading Saint Mary’s (11-12, 3-0), which starts Thursday at 3 p.m. Starting for BYU on Thursday will be Desmond Poulson (3-2, 4.89), followed by Jeff Barker (2-3, 4.87) on Friday at 3 p.m. Kolton Mahoney (2-4, 4.78) starts Saturday at noon.
“They (Saint Mary’s) are better than last year. They are a challenge for us,” Littlewood said. “One of the top four spots for the league tournament is up for grabs. If we start playing up to our potential, we will be one of those four teams. We are waiting to turn the corner and play as well as we can.”
Littlewood said junior third baseman Dillon Robinson is now day-to-day coming back from an ankle injury a couple of weeks ago.
“We want him (Robinson) healthy for Saint Mary’s,” Littlewood said. “He changes our lineup so much. When we are rolling, he’s playing well. Without him we lack depth on offense, so it’s imperative to get him back. He adds leadership and is a calming influence on the field.”
Ralph R. Zobell has worked for BYU Athletic Media Relations in various capacities for over 30 years. You can view his bio at http://byucougars.com/staff/athletics/ralph-zobell or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.