mperry | Posted: 15 Mar 2016 | Updated: 8 Nov 2020

Pitching staff shines as No. 29 BYU blanks Utah 6-0

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PROVO, Utah — A staff pitching effort by No. 29 BYU baseball blanked Utah 6-0 in the first game of the Deseret First Duel on Tuesday at Larry H. Miller Field.

“I think we're a well-rounded team,” BYU baseball coach Mike Littlewood said. “They had to shut down our offense because they knew we were going to score some runs. If you look at the ninth inning, the only time we got in trouble was when we didn't throw strikes.”

The Cougars extended their best start in school history to 16-1 while the Utes dropped to 4-11 on the season.

Designated hitter Colton Shaver led the team with two RBI and his fifth home run of the year. He has hit five career home runs in four games against Utah.

Catcher Bronson Larsen had two hits while first baseman Tanner Chauncey also had two after returning to the lineup from injury. Eric Urry added two hits in four at-bats and scored two runs.

Maverik Buffo threw one inning as the starting pitcher before Hayden Rogers and Easton Walker each took turns for one inning. Riley Gates picked up the win as the pitcher on record when BYU took the lead in the fourth inning. Keaton Cenatiempo threw two perfect frames, taking over for Zach Brinkerhoff in the fifth. Bo Burrup and Mason Marshall closed the game with two innings and one inning, respectively.

“It's a learning curve for our freshmen,” Littlewood said. “Brinkerhoff is a really good sinker guy. But to get ground balls you've got to throw strikes. I think more than being just an offensive team, we're a well-rounded team. We're going to play catch and we're going to go at guys this year.”

Utah drew a walk to begin the game, but the catcher Larsen turned a strikeout into a double-play when he caught the runner stealing. A fly-out ended the frame.

The game remained 0-0 over the next two innings. The Utes threatened with runners on the corners in the second, but two pop-outs left two stranded.

In the bottom of the third, Anderson came through with an RBI-triple to get BYU into the run column after he took a 1-2 pitch to right. Rightfielder Brock Hale followed with a sinlge up the middle, bringing Anderson home for the 2-0 lead before the inning ended.

Utah put its first two batters on base with a walk and a single in the top of the fifth before Cenatiempo entered the game in relief of Brinkerhoff. After runners advanced to second and third on a sacrifice bunt, the righty got the final two Ute batters to fly out and ground out to escape the jam and preserve the shutout.

The Cougars posted three more runs in the bottom half of the frame to extend their lead. Chauncey got his second hit of the game when he dropped a double down the right-field line. After advancing to third on a wild pitch, Urry’s double to left drove in Chauncey for the third run of the game. Shaver came to the plate next and smacked a home run off the scoreboard for the 5-0 BYU advantage.

The Cougar defense kept the Utah offense at bay as two more runners were stranded in the seventh after reaching base earlier with one out. Burrup threw consecutive strikeouts to end the frame.

In the eighth inning, BYU again got itself out of a jam after two Utes reached base on one-out hits.

Cougar third baseman Nate Favero singled to short and scored two batters later for BYU’s sixth and final run of the game. He advanced to third on a wild pitch and then to home on a throwing error by the Utah catcher.

The 6-0 Cougar lead and eventual final tally held as the defense stranded two more Utah baserunners in the top of the ninth.

BYU baseball opens West Coast Conference action this weekend when it hosts Pacific in a three-game series beginning Thursday at 6 p.m. MDT. All three games will be televised on BYUtv and broadcast live on ESPN 960 AM and BYU Radio – Sirius XM 143.