Here come the Utes

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    By W Kolditz

    The BYU baseball team begins an eight-game home stand with a three-game series against in-state rival Utah Thursday, May 1.

    The Cougars swept the Utes earlier this year at Utah for the first time since 2001. BYU outscored Utah in the series 25-14.

    The Utes trails the all-time series with the Cougars 84-184-1.

    With 305 runs scored in 39 games, the Cougars are ranked 29th in the nation in runs scored.

    One-run games continued to trouble the BYU baseball team over the spring break.

    The Cougars went 2-4 during the break with three of the losses decided by a run. BYU is now 2-11 in one-run games.

    “We”re a better club than what we”ve shown,” said BYU head coach Vance Law in an interview with KOVO 960 AM. “I didn”t feel like we played our best baseball.”

    The Cougars end the break after being swept in a three-game series against No. 18 UNLV (35-12, 18-3) over the weekend. The Cougars drop their record to 19-20 and 11-10 in the Mountain West Conference.

    The Cougars lost 11-10 to UNLV on Saturday after taking a 7-1 lead into the bottom of the sixth inning.

    “They (UNLV) play with a lot of confidence,” said BYU assistant coach Nate Mathis in an interview with KOVO 960 AM. “Teams that win and get on a roll find a way to win games like that one.”

    The Utes went 1-4 last week against New Mexico and Southern Utah. Utah won the first game of a doubleheader at Southern Utah and then lost four straight, including a three-game sweep at home by the Lobos.

    With an overall record of 19-24 and 6-14 in the MWC, Utah ranks fifth in the conference. The Cougars fell from second to fourth place after playing UNLV.

    BYU junior shortstop Ranger Wiens and junior third baseman Kainoa Obrey are both tied for 15th in the nation in doubles with 18.

    Wiens remains the Cougar batting leader, hitting .392 with 32 RBIs and three home runs.

    Sophomore outfielder Matt Ciaramella leads the Utes with a .386 batting average and 37 RBIs.

    The Utes senior catcher Wick Udy is on the watch list for the Johnny Bench Award, given annually to the top collegiate catcher. He is batting .326 with a .984 fielding percentage.

    Game three of the Utah series on Saturday at 1 p.m. will be televised live on both KBYU-TV and BYU-TV.

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