The biggest rivalry in the state of Utah took place Tuesday night at Smith’s Ballpark where the University of Utah baseball team (10-12, 1-5 Pac-12) fell to Brigham Young University (11-11, 1-2 WCC) 11-6. The Cougars came out strong, and they finished tough. The Utes showed glimpses of hope in between, but it was not enough to take down the Cougars.
On the mound, Jacob Rebar struggled early as the Cougars capitalized on his mistakes. Rebar was responsible for four runs on two hits with three walks and four errors to put the rivals up 4-0 in the top of the first inning. Earning the loss, Rebar falls to 2-4 on the season.
“I don’t know what it is and we got to figure it out,” Kinneberg said on Rebar’s performance. “We’re going to need him at some point here, and he’s got to be better.”
Chase Bauerle quickly entered the game with two outs left in the first to try and get the game back in control. In the bottom of the second with the Utes at the plate — an offense that has struggled as of late — Zack Moeller hit a two-RBI single to score Dallas Carroll and Hunter Simmons.
The Cougars scored on a passed ball before a triple added two more runs in the second as they took a quick 7-2 lead. An RBI-triple off the bat of Oliver Dunn then put the Utes to three runs.
Bauerle pitched 2 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on four hits with two strikeouts before Tanner Thomas took over on the mound in the fourth. Both teams went scoreless in the third and fourth. The Cougars did not have a big fifth inning, but the inning was huge for the Utes. Carroll walked before advancing to second after Simmons hit a single up the middle. Moeller immediately singled to left field to load the bases. Carroll scored as Dominic Foscalina flied out. Pinch hitter Wade Gulden stepped up to the plate and hit a two-RBI single to put Utah within a run, down 7-6.
In the bottom of the eighth Keirsey Jr. singled and Dunn hit a sacrifice bunt before Carroll was walked. The Utes loaded the bases in the eighth, but they were unable to get anything out of it.
The Cougars turned it on, and they ran away with the game in the ninth as they added four runs to take the final lead of the night, 11-6.
“We fought our way back into the game after a disastrous first two innings, so I was proud of the guys for the way they did that,” Kinneberg said. “We had a couple chances in the seventh and eighth inning to either tie or go ahead and then keep them there at a one run game in the ninth and try to win it in the ninth, but we didn’t do it. Disappointed in that part of it.”
The Utes went through eight pitchers. Spencer Kevin Johnson pitched two innings with two strikeouts and one walk in his first career appearance. Trenton Stoltz, Dylan Drachler, Hunter Rodriguez and Lars Lofgren also saw time on the mound.
“We didn’t start off hot,” Simmons said. “It’s frustrating that we lost because we always want to win, especially against BYU.”
Eight Utes were able to get hits, and five of them had at least two. The Utes outhit the cougars 16-13 despite the loss.
“We got a lot of hits, but not much to show for it,” Kinneberg said.
The Utes will continue conference play looking to turn things around as the Oregon Ducks make a visit to Salt Lake City for a three-game series beginning on Thursday at 7 p.m.