By Daniel Lund
The BYU baseball team lost its home opener 5-4 in a close game against in-state rival Utah.
The Cougars got the scoring up early as they capitalized off of two errors and poor defensive play by the Utes in the second. Ben Saylor reached first after Ute shortstop Ryan Khoury fumbled a ground ball. Bret Baldwin then missed an Adrian Molina grounder at second, allowing Saylor to easily advance to third. The next batter, Blake Crosby hit a ground ball towards right field, allowing Saylor to score.
The Utes came back though in the third when leftfielder Corey Shimada hit a two-run homerun over the right field wall. Cougar pitcher Matt Jenson later redeemed himself in the inning when he struck out the Ute?s designated hitter, Scott Malone.
The Cougars shined in the bottom of the sixth inning, beginning with a Saylor hit along the right field line, allowing him to reach second. The next batter, Molina was hit in the thigh by a wild pitch, followed by another dropped catch by the Utes at third base, leaving the bases loaded. Casey Nelson then hit a sacrifice grounder to right field allowing Saylor to score again to tie the game up.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, the Cougars got on top again, behind the strong efforts of the speedy Austin Carter. After reaching third base on an overthrown ball by the pitcher, he was able to dive into home after a long hit up centerfield by Marcos Villezcas.
In the top of the ninth, BYU reliever James Platt came in to finish off the Utes. The Cougar defense helped him as they fielded a ground ball to the left to put the first out of the inning on the board. Unfortunately for the Cougars, three hitters and only one out later, the Utes had a runner in scoring position on third and on first. A hit into left field by catcher Adam Frank scored two runs and put the Utes up by one. Two batters later, the Utes put another run on the boards with a ground ball hit into left field.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Cougars tried to make a valiant comeback. After Jake Wortham walked and Austin Carter hit a grounder to the shortstop, the Cougars had two runners on bases with no outs. The Utes then intentionally walked Villezcas and filled the bases. Jeff Hiestand then walked, putting a run in for the Cougars. Ben Saylor then hit a ball to the shortstop, allowing the Utes put the game away with a double play.