After clawing their way to a 4-3 lead against the Brigham Young University baseball team, the Utah offense exploded for five runs in the sixth inning, eventually earning a 9-3 win in a game called after the sixth inning because of rain.
The win improves Utah's season record to 8-15 and kicks off an 11-game homestand for the Utes.
Utah coach Bill Kinneberg came away impressed with what his team was able to accomplish offensively.
“I sure liked our team the last three innings,” Kinneberg said. “Early on we may have overdone it with our small ball, but that’s what we do. If someone is going to give us the drag, we’re going to take it.”
The Cougars scored in the top of the first when Tanner Chauncey slapped a double that scored Hayden Nielsen from second. Utah got the equalizer when leadoff hitter Kody Davis bunted to reach first, advanced on teammate Cody Scaggari’s sacrifice, stole third then scored on Dallas Carroll’s sacrifice fly.
BYU designated hitter Colton Shaver drilled a second-inning, line-drive homer that screamed over the left-field wall in a hurry.
In Shaver’s next at bat, the freshman, and former Jordan Beetdigger, absolutely crushed a Dylan Drachler fastball for another solo blast, giving the Cougars a 3-1 lead.
Utah answered with a run in the fourth inning when Wade Gulden scored from first on a Hunter Simmons triple. The Utes pushed two more across in the fifth inning to lead 4-3, after Davis and Carroll reached, advanced on a balk and scored on a well-hit single by Max Schuman.
With one out in the sixth and BYU’s Shaver at bat, Utah pitching coach Mike Crawford brought in right-handed reliever Brock Duke. The senior promptly struck out Shaver, and Eric Urry, as the Utes maintained a 4-3 lead.
“I thought Dylan Drachler pitched five good innings for a Tuesday start, but with Shaver up, we had planned on bringing Brock into the game,” Kinneberg said.
The Cougars countered with a pitching move of their own, inserting Mason Marshall into the contest.
And the Utes pounced.
With the bases loaded, Scagarri walked, scoring Gulden. Then Carroll singled home a run and Schuman walked to allow another run in.
All told, the Utes pushed across five runs in the fifth.
“It was really nice to come out and execute,” Schuman, Utah's designated hittter, said. “Our preparation was good and from the first pitch, I could tell it was going to be a good day for the Utes.”
Following the completion of the sixth inning, ground crews called for a 30-minute rain delay to counter the light rain that had fallen since the first pitch.
After about ten minutes, the crew called the game, giving Utah a win in the first of three games that will be played between the rivals this year.