Cougar candy: Baseball struggles against rival BYU

By and

It seemed as if the U baseball team and the BYU Cougars were equals after games one and two of the three-game weekend series in Salt Lake City. The Cougars, however, showed why they were the best team in the conference in game three.

Following a great comeback that fell just short in game one, the Utes (12-23, 5-11) used ninth-inning heroics in game two to win 11-10. In game three, however, the Cougars (27-10, 13-3) knocked the cover off the ball and blew away the Utes 19-6.

The Utes looked as if they took their momentum from the comeback in game one and carried it over to the beginning of game two. In the first two innings of the game, the Utes did well at the plate.

With two runs scored in the first innings, Jay Brossman launched a three-run home run off of BYU pitcher Brandon Christiansen in the second inning. The Utes added another run and were up 6-2 after two innings.

The Cougars kept the offense rolling in the middle innings of the game with three runs in the fourth, two runs in the fifth and a run in the sixth. The Ute offense fired back at the Cougars in the fifth inning with four runs of their own, which carried them to a 10-8 lead heading into the eighth inning.

Ute reliever Josh Cooper, who has been reliable this year, gave up two runs in the eighth inning and had to be taken out for Brian Lane. Lane struck out the final Cougar, and the game was tied at 10 heading into the final inning.

The Utes didn’t score in the bottom half of the eighth, and in the top of the ninth Lane took care of business, as he retired all three Cougar hitters.

In the bottom of the ninth, Trevor Eastman hit a single with one out. After another out and a walk, John Welsh came to the plate with two outs and two runners on. Welsh hit the ball down the right-field line, which allowed a runner to come home and clinch the victory.

Lane earned the victory for the Utes, while Cougar reliever Matthew Jensen got the loss, since he gave up the final run of the game.

In game three, the Cougars pounded the ball. Ute starter Bryce Freed gave up four runs in the first inning and didn’t play another inning after that. The Ute hitters answered back with two runs in the second and two runs in the third.

The Cougar offense was kept at bay in the second, third and fourth innings by Ute reliever Josh Madsen, scoring only one run in the three innings.

Going into the fifth inning up 5-4, the Cougars caught fire. U reliever Chase Christensen could only record one out before he was taken out after giving up four runs. In the fifth inning, the Cougar bats trashed Lane, as they scored seven runs in the inning. The Ute offense couldn’t respond and the Utes lost the game 19-6.

Cougar starter Blake Torgerson earned the victory, while Freed claimed his fifth loss of the year.

The Utes head to Orem this Tuesday to take on UVSC and then head to Albuquerque to take on New Mexico in a three-game series.

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