Utes even series with 4-3 win in Salt Lake City
SALT LAKE CITY (April 3, 2018)—A cliché-ridden rivalry got another twist Tuesday night when Utah baseball eked out a 4-3 victory over BYU in the Deseret First Duel.
Utah evened the four-game series at a game apiece, improving its record to 7-20, while the Cougars fell to 14-13. The two teams next meet again on April 24 in Provo.
“When the game is on the line and that pitch is on the line you gotta make that play,” BYU coach Mike Littlewood said in reference to several clutch situations.
A three-run homer by Ute Erick Migueles off starter Bo Burrup to right field was the last of three consecutive one-out hits for a 3-1 Ute lead in the fourth frame.
A suicide squeeze bunt play by BYU failed at home in the seventh, nearly hanging Noah Hill out to dry. Hill retreated to third safely where Jarrett Perns advanced and was tagged for out number two.
“We were actually trying to steal two runs,” Littlewood said. “With a good bunt I think we would have gotten two runs out of it. It was a high-risk, high-rewards play and it backfired.”
The unusual continued in the bottom of the seventh when Brian Hsu’s throw to second hit the Utah runner to load the bases, forcing Littlewood to replace reliever Jake Suddreth with Rhett Parkinson. Parkinson’s first four pitches were balls, giving Utah its 4-3 lead.
Both teams mirrored each other with inning-ending double plays in the first inning. For the Cougars in that frame, Perns extended his hitting streak to 17 games. For the Utes, the double play was more costly as they had two runners on base with one out.
BYU got a two-out single from Hill, then a walk by Brennon Anderson before Perns singled again to plate Hill for a 1-0 lead in the third inning.
After fouling off several pitches with the bases loaded, Hsu stroked a two-out, two-run single to tie the game three-all in the fifth.
The Cougars did complete a couple defensive gems other than the initial double play. Kyle Dean made a sliding catch in left field to end the sixth, preventing a couple of runs. Daniel Schneemann’s glove and arm snuffed out a couple Utes from his shortstop position. In addition, Perns threw out DaShawn Keirsey relaying to Schneemann as he tried to stretch a double into a triple in the eighth.
“I was proud of Bo (Burrup),” Littlewood said. “I thought he did a great job and gave us the innings we needed.”
The Cougars next play Thursday when they host a three-game series against Santa Clara starting at 6 p.m.