PROVO, Utah — Falling behind early, the BYU baseball team dropped its third and final game of the season series to the University of Utah, 6-4, on Tuesday night at Larry H. Miller Field in front of a crowd of 1,523 fans, the largest of the season. BYU dropped to 17-14 on the year with Utah improving to 10-25. Despite the loss, the Cougars still edged the Utes in the Deseret First Duel, winning two out of three games this season.
“We got down early and tried to battle back,” first-year pitching coach Wally Ritchie said. “(Capper) wanted this game badly and because of that he was too pumped up and didn’t locate his pitches well.”
Starting pitcher Chris Capper took the loss for the Cougars, surrendering five runs in 5.0 innings, giving up 12 hits and striking out seven. Utah’s Tony Vocca earned the win for the Utes, putting in 2.2 innings of relief and allowing one run on two hits and striking out four.
Utah jumped out to an early 4-0 lead, scoring three runs in the first inning and one in the second. The Utes swung early and often, picking up six hits in the first two innings, including a two-run homer. Utah slugged 15 hits in the game, six for extra bases.
The Cougars got on the board in the bottom of the second inning. Shortstop Austin Hall was hit by a pitch to start the inning, advanced to second on a wild pitch and then eventually scored from third on a passed ball.
After Utah added another run, wild pitches helped BYU out in the bottom of the third inning. The Cougars scored two runs on wild pitches, cutting the Utes’ lead to 5-3. Catcher Wes Guenther led off the inning with a single, advanced to second on a passed ball and moved to third on first baseman Brock Whitney’s infield hit. Guenther came home on a wild pitch and Whitney later scored on another.
BYU cut it to a one-run game at 5-4 in the bottom of the sixth inning when third baseman Dillon Robinson jumped on the first pitch he saw to triple into the right-center gap. Robinson scored on second baseman Andrew Law’s single up the middle.
Utah added an insurance run on its second home run of the game, a solo shot from catcher Parker Morin in the top of the ninth inning. The Utes led 6-4 heading into the bottom of the ninth and set the Cougars down in order to secure the victory.
Next up, the Cougars travel to California to take on No. 8 Stanford on Tuesday, April 24, at Klein Field at Sunken Diamond.
Kenneth Cox is a 2011 BYU graduate, currently working as a football and basketball media relations assistant at BYU. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on twitter @KContheflipside