Deseret First Duel On The Line
A rivalry, seedings and the Deseret First Duel Trophy are all on the line this week as BYU's baseball team closes its regular season at the University of Utah.
The three-game series starts on Thursday and Friday at 6 p.m., followed by the finale at 1 p.m. on Saturday. All of the games are at Franklin Covey Field.
BYU brings a 20-33 overall record and an 8-13 Mountain West Conference record to match Utah's 9-12 league mark. But first the Utes host Southern Utah at Ute Field on Tuesday to enhance their 21-24 overall record. The Cougars, who are tied with UNLV for sixth place, trail Utah by one game in the MWC standings. UNLV plays a three-game series this weekend at the Air Force Academy.
BYU will match southpaw Jake Wortham (4-4, 6.75) to face Utah's Stephen Fife (6-4, 3.29) on the mound in Thursday's opener. On Friday BYU will counter with sophomore righthander Blake Torgerson (5-4, 7.05) against the U's Brian Budrow 5-5, 3.68). And on Saturday the Cougar starting pitcher will be junior Jordan Muir (2-6, 6.26) against John James (3-6, 5.90).
Also at stake in rivalry is the first annual Deseret First Duel Trophy. BYU needs to win one of the three baseball games to claim the overall trophy, but the Utes could claim it with a sweep. Utah could also win the Deseret First Duel baseball trophy by winning two of this weekend's games or BYU could also win the baseball trophy outright with a three-game sweep or off total runs if the two teams split the four-game series. BYU leads the current standings with 31 points accrued through victories in football, men's basketball, women's volleyball, men's and women's swimming and softball. Utah's 28.5 points thus far have come through wins between the two schools in Women's Soccer, Women's Basketball, Women's Gymnastics, Men's Baseball, Men's Tennis, Softball and Women's Tennis.
Another twist for the rivalry is older brother Brandon Relf playing second base for BYU, while Tyler Relf is an infielder for the Utes. Brandon, who returned from a Church mission to South Africa last year, scored a run in April's contest between the brothers from Alta High, while Tyler went 0-for-5.
"We always want to play well," said BYU Coach Vance Law. "We need to go up to Utah and take care of business and gain some momentum to go into the tournament."
The Cougars lead the series, 206-90-1, but Utah claimed a 9-7 non-conference win in Provo early last month. The rivalry first started on May 18, 1895 when the two team played the first ever intercollegiate game in Utah, ending in a 0-0 tie and a bench-clearing brawl.
All of the BYU-Utah games will be broadcast live locally over KSRR Radio (1400 AM).
For more information, please see the multi-page PDF at the top of this page.
Deseret First Duel
Run differential: 38 26
BYU Points Thus Far
Men's Basketball 10
Women's Volleyball 6
Men's Swimming 1
Women's Swimming 1
Utah Points Thus Far
Women's Soccer 6
Women's Basketball 10
Women's Gymnastics 6
Men's Baseball 3
Men's Tennis 1
Women's Tennis 1