SALT LAKE CITY—Utah won the Deseret First Duel by virtue of a 6-3 victory over BYU baseball in Salt Lake City, powered by Chandler Anderson’s grand slam on Tuesday.
The Cougars, 19-24, took a 1-0 lead in the third inning, but it was short lived as the Utes, 13-32, tied it in the third before Anderson’s homer in that frame.
“They got one key hit and we didn’t,” BYU coach Mike Littlewood said. “We set them up for that big hit. This has been the story of our season. We can’t get that big hit and this game was a microcosm of our season.”
BYU grabbed the early lead when Brock Hale legged out a two-out single deep in the shortstop hole, then stole second and advanced to third on a catcher throwing error. Keaton Kringlen hit one sharply to the hot corner and the third baseman’s throw was wild to first, plating Hale for a 1-0 lead in the third.
Utah evened the score in the third when starter Kenny Saenz loaded the bases with no outs, started by a lead-off double and a pair of beaned batters. He was relieved by Alex Perron and Anderson belted his first pitch for a grand slam and a 5-1 lead.
Three pinch-hitters came to bat for BYU in the fourth, each of whom reached base. Mitch McIntyre’s “sun triple” was lost in the twilight sky by centerfielder DaShawn Keirsey, Jr. who had backed up to the warning track, enabling David Clawson to score for a 5-2 margin.
The Cougars battled back, but came up short.
“Most of these BYU-Utah games come down to the last batter,” Littlewood said of his team that had the tying run at the plate in the ninth. “We hit four to five balls on the screws and gave up too many gifts on the bases.
“We are trying to find the positives and stay positive. We out-hit them (8-4) and need to keep plugging away.”
BYU has a three-game series starting Thursday afternoon at San Francisco (25-24 and 14-10 in the West Coast Conference).