BYU improved to 26-5 on the season with a 14-2 win over rival Utah. Hayden Rogers picked up his 4th win of the season. The Cougars will next head to Moraga to face St. Mary’s in WCC play.
Provo, UT – With their foot on the gas pedal, BYU refused to let up and continued to put run-after-run on the scoreboard on Tuesday evening.
It is a rivalry after all, why let up?
The Cougars outscored the rival Utes 14-3 to improve to 26-5 on the season and 2-0 in the 2016 Deseret First Duel in from of 2,937 fans – the third largest crowd in Miller Park history.
“We don’t understate that playing Utah is a big game for us,” said Coach Littlewood. “This is maybe the biggest game on the schedule and one that we have to win because that’s the way we feel. If we shy away from it then we aren’t able to build on our emotion.”
Hayden Rogers got the start for the Cougars and kept the Utes in check for three innings by not allowing any of the nine opposing batters to reach base while on the bump.
With the win, Hayden Rogers improved to 4-0 on the season in his fifth start.
“Everything was working for me,” said Rogers. “I felt comfortable with all my pitches. I was focusing on keeping the ball down and throwing it in the zone so I could let my defense work.”
Brennon Lund led BYU at the plate going 3-for-6 and scoring 3 runs.
The Cougars started out strong, jumping ahead 2-0 in the first inning behind a lead off hit from Brennon Lund followed up with a triple from Hayden Nielsen. Nielsen crossed home plate after a sac fly line drive from Colton Shaver.
In the bottom of the third, BYU took Utah’s pitching staff to the woodshed, facing four pitchers after putting up nine runs on the board.
“We swing at strikes and take balls for the most part,” said Coach Littlewood. “You see a lot of teams that swing at pitches in the dirt and ones that they can’t handle. Our guys have a great approach that way by knowing and commanding their strike zone.”
Hayden Nielsen started things off for BYU as he took first base on a hit pitch and was scored on a single from Tanner Chauncey. Next up was Colton Shaver who reached base on a walk to put runners on first and second with one out.
Starting pitcher Tanner Thomas began to feel the heat so Utah’s skipper took to the bullpen for relief. Nolan Stouder entered the game and walked the first batter he faced, Keaton Kringlen bringing loaded bases for Eric Urry who took full advantage and doubled down the right field line to drive in two runs.
Bronson Larsen joined in with a single up the middle and picked up two RBI of his own to put BYU up 7-0. Utah headed to the bullpen once against bringing in Hunter Rodriguez who was able to get Jackson Cluff to pop out.
Daniel Schneeman knocked a single up the middle to put runners on first and second and bringing Brennon Lund up to bat. Lund singled to the left scoring Larsen, Nielsen followed up with his second hit of the inning on an infield single to third base which scored Schneeman. The Cougars rounded out the scoring with a double from Chauncey which cleared the bases bringing the score to 11-0.
Utah responded with a two run inning in the fourth with a lead off single from DaShawn Keirsey who was scored by a double from Cody Scaggari. Scaggari then crossed homeplate on a sac fly from DH Kellen Marruffo.
Things were kept quiet until the sixth inning when BYU and Utah added a run each. Utah’s came from a single to left that looked to score two runs but Eric Urry put a ball on a line to home plate that beat the runner and ending the inning.
“That may have been the biggest play of the game,” said Coach Littlewood. “Without that play they may be a hit away from getting back into the game.”
Colton Shaver then came up to bat and tattooed a ball through the right field alley for his 8th home run of the season and brought the score to 12-3 in favor of BYU.
BYU added two final runs in the bottom of the seventh when Utah loaded up the bases and walked in Kringlen and Urry for two consecutive runs.
Hayden Nielsen and Bronson Larsen were both 2-for-4 from the plate with Nielsen picking up 2 RBI and scoring 4 runs. Larsen had 2 RBI himself and crossed home plate once.
BYU will head to Moraga, CA to face WCC foe St. Mary’s for a pivotal three game series. The Gaels (8-4) currently sit at third place behind BYU (9-3) and Gonzaga (9-3) who are tied for first in WCC play.