Nine-run third powers No. 16 BYU to series win over Utah
PROVO, Utah — Junior centerfielder Brennon Lund sparked No. 16 BYU baseball to a 14-3 rout over Utah on Tuesday night.
"You never expect to put nine runs up like that at the beginning, but it took pressure off of us early," BYU head coach Mike Littlewood said. "Our guys came out to play today and that was the bottom line. I liked that Hayden (Rogers) threw three pitches for strikes tonight and I liked his body language. He was sharp and really set the tone for us."
The Cougars (26-5) scored 14 runs on 13 hits, including nine runs in the third inning that proved to be too much for Utes (11-18) as 2,204 people were in attendance.
"We appreciate the support from all our fans," Littlewood added. "I can even imagine that there were more than 3,000 because the bleachers were full. We hope they keep coming out because it was awesome."
With the win Tuesday and the 6-0 victory back on March 15, BYU clinched the Deseret First Duel series against Utah with one more game left to play on May 17. It is the eighth Duel win in the past nine years. The final Duel outcome was determined with BYU softball's win on March 15 with the Cougars winning the competition across all sports.
"We don't understate the fact that Utah is a big game for us," Littlewood said. "We're not afraid to say this is a huge game, maybe the biggest one on the schedule, and we have to win this game because that's the way we feel. Maybe if we shy away from it, then we don't have as much emotion."
The junior Lund hit 3 for 6, scored three runs and had one RBI as the leadoff man, while five different players drove in multiple runs.
First baseman Tanner Chauncey had three RBI on two hits, including a double. Left fielder Eric Urry had three RBI on a double, and shortstop Hayden Nielsen scored four runs and hit 2 for 4 with a triple and two RBI. Catcher Bronson Larsen and designated hitter Colton Shaver also drove in two runs in the offensive barrage.
Starting pitcher Rogers (4-0) picked up the win with three perfect innings. The staff pitching day included appearances on the mound from Jordan Wood, Riley Gates, Keaton Cenatiempo, Easton Walker and Bo Burrup.
After a 1-2-3 first inning in the field, Lund led off at the plate with an opposite-field single to left. Nielsen followed in the two-hole with a triple to the gap in right center to score Lund all the way from first for the early 1-0 lead. Two batters later, Shaver’s sacrifice fly scored Nielsen for the 2-0 advantage at the end of the inning.
The BYU defense kept Utah from getting any traction as second baseman Daniel Schneemann got to a grounder up the middle, turned in the air and threw across his body for the third out of the top of the second.
A three-up, three-down inning brought the Cougars to the plate again in the third where they opened the scoring flurry. Thirteen batters came to the plate, throttling the Ute pitchers with seven hits for nine runs over the course of the 32-minute third inning.
Chauncey pulled a one-out single to left field to score Nielsen from second after he reached on a hit-by-pitch. Shaver then drew a walk, prompting the first Utah pitching change, and Kringlen followed with a base on balls to set the table. Urry nearly cleared the bases as he doubled down the right-field line, bringing home Chauncey and Shaver for the 5-0 tally.
Larsen added two RBI of his own, driving in Keaton Kringlen and Urry with his single up the middle to clear the bases for the 7-0 margin and leading Utah to make its second change on the mound in the third inning.
Schneemann singled up the middle before Lund got his second single of the game on a 3-2 pitch, hitting it through the left side to score Larsen.
Nielsen kept the flood gates open with an RBI-single to third, beating out the throw to first to score Schneemann. Chauncey followed as he dropped a standup two-run double down the right-field line for the 11-0 lead and his second hit of the inning, forcing Utah into its fourth pitcher of the frame.
In the top of the fourth, Utah scored its first runs of the game on a double and a sacrifice fly to make the game 11-2.
After a scoreless fifth, the two teams traded sides with each scoring one run in the sixth. A single for Utah scored one runner, but the second baserunner was thrown out on Urry’s throw to Larsen at home.
The Cougars added a run to the scoreboard in the bottom half of the sixth on Shaver’s eighth home run of the season, a solo shot to right center.
With the game at 12-3, BYU tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the seventh with two bases-loaded walks.
Lund’s third hit of the game went for a single up the middle before Nielsen reached on an error. Two batters later Shaver was intentionally walked for the fifth time this year before Kringlen and Urry drew back-to-back bases on balls, plating Lund and Nielsen for the eventual 14-3 final score.
The Cougars get back to West Coast Conference play this weekend with a series on the road at Saint Mary’s in Moraga, California. Thursday and Friday's games are both at 3 p.m. PDT, and all three are broadcast live on TheW.tv, ESPN 960 AM and BYU Radio – Sirius XM 143.
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