It was a weekend Ute baseball Coach Rick Sofield would just as soon forget; one that began in the high-rent district and ended in the emergency room.
The Utes opened a four-game series against Wyoming with hopes of moving to the top of the WAC standings. They finished looking for an exit. Wyoming claimed 15-10 and 15-3 wins Saturday afternoon to complete a four-game sweep over the Utes. "I am the happiest man in the world to see Wyoming get on a bus and get out of here," said Sofield.And so Utah's rising baseball hopes sank back into oblivion once again. The losses dropped the Utes to 3-6 in the league and 10-20 overall while Wyoming, one of the frontrunners in the WAC race, is 19-10 and 8-4.
In Saturday's opener, Utah's most durable pitcher, righthander Craig Sudbury, didn't get past the third inning. Wyoming worked him over from the beginning, scoring twice in the first, three times in the second and sending him from the mound in the five-run third. Cowboy catcher Mark Robert and outfielder Mike Hodge drove in two runs apiece in the third to bring the Cowboys' lead to 10-3.
Eventually the Utes closed the Wyoming lead to 12-10 but coughed up their chance by allowing three runs in the top of the seventh, two scoring on an error.
The second game was more of the same, except that the Utes didn't hit as well. Wyoming pounded Utah starter Paul Simmons for three homers and six runs in the first three innings.
"I'm still a little shocked," Sofield said, expounding on the disaster he saw unfolding. "They put a blanket around me in the third inning. I was cold and quivering and going a little blind. I think I went unconscious for a little while, but I got back up in the fifth after some medication."
However, the fifth wasn't anything he wanted to be conscious of, either. Wyoming built its lead to 15-2 with three homers and eight runs. "I've gotta change my pitching strategy and make some adjustments," Sofield said. "Nobody could get anybody out."
In the nightcap, six Wyoming players hit home runs and every player but one in the starting lineup got a hit. The four-game sweep gave Wyoming coach Bill Kinnenberg reason to offer sympathy. "We got on a roll and caught Utah at just the right time," he said.
Sofield was only glad to see the six hours of baseball end. "I'm not a big fan of the brown and gold color combination anyway," he said. "I have one sweater that color. I'm going to burn it. I've seen so much brown and gold flying by me this weekend it's made me nauseous."
While the loss dimmed Utah's chances to make the four-team WAC playoffs in Hawaii, it didn't knock the Utes completely out. Having split four games at San Diego, and beaten BYU, Sofield said his team is just back to the starting gate - not finished. "Now all we gotta do is beat the hell out of somebody farther down the road," he said.
He continued, "This was not our weekend. I'll tell you what: Norma Carr's softball team would have taken three out of four from us."
Utah's Lance Madsen extended his hitting streak to 20 games with three hits on the day, including a two-run homer.
BYU 19-14, CSU 1-1
At Provo, catcher Brad Eagar hit a pair of home runs in each game of a Saturday doubleheader to help BYU blister Colorado State in a doubleheader.
Eagar hit back-to-back solo homers in the 19-1 victory and repeated in the late game. Darin Kracl tossed a one-hitter and Ed Zinter added a four-hitter for BYU. Kracl gave up a fourth-inning single to right field in the 19-1 victory and struck out 10 Ram batters.
BYU's improved to 22-10, 6-3 in the WAC, while CSU is 10-21 and 1-7 after being swept in the four-game Provo series.
BYU's next game is a Tuesday doubleheader against Southern Utah State in Provo.