One thousand, nine hundred four baseball fans came out to see BYU’s home opener against the Utah Utes, where BYU scored a season-high 20 points, 18 of which came in the first two innings.
BYU had 20 runs on 20 hits, while Utah had three runs on six hits.
In the first inning, Hayden Nielsen and Brock Whitney scored off of Kelton Caldwell’s hit out to right field. Bret Lopez’s hit off of Ute pitcher Tanner Banks gave Caldwell time to run past home base. Dillon Robinson slid home on a wild pitch, and then Jarrett Jarvis scored on Brennon Lund’s sac-fly. The Cougars led 6-0 at the end of the first inning.
“We caught Utah on a good night,” said BYU coach Mike Littlewood. “We had the mindset that we were going to play tonight no matter what. We knew the weather was going to break, and I think Utah was thinking they weren’t going to play, and it showed. They were just a little bit flat.”
BYU’s energy continued after Desmond Poulson, who currently pitches a 92 mph fastball, struck out the Utes in the top of the second. Poulson did well despite the long rest between innings.
“He’s going to keep us in every single game he throws in,” Littlewood said.
The Cougars scored 12 runs on 10 hits in the second inning, where 18 batters came to the plate. Caldwell hit two triples, and BYU led comfortably 18-0 by the end of the second.
Caldwell tied the school record with Jacob Hannemann and Adam Law for recording two triples in a game. Before tonight’s game, he had only two triples in his entire career.
“I told Brock (Whitney) if he was on base again if I got it in the gap I wasn’t stopping, I was going for it,” Caldwell said.
BYU came off of a three-game win against Seattle and continued that momentum throughout the entire game. The Cougars (5-9) did not ease up as the game continued. Though tonight was something Littlewood called an “anomaly,” the game highlighted the team’s potential.
“What I look at in these games is Desmond threw a few strikes and Hayden Rogers came in and did a nice job; so did Rhett Nelson. We put good at-bats together. They weren’t easy outs,” Littlewood said.
Brock Whitney scored in the fifth inning, making the score 19-0. Then in the seventh inning, Jarvis hit a double, putting Tyler Kendrick (in for Robinson) at third. Utah’s pitcher balked, letting Kendrick walk home and Jarvis get to third.
In the bottom of the ninth, BYU relief pitcher Brandon Kinser gave up a few pitches, putting the Utes up on the board.
Utah Infielder Cory Hunt scored on Konnor Armijo’s hit far out to left field, followed by TJ Bennett, who scored on center fielder Wyler Smith’s hit. Utah’s third and final score was by Armijo, who came in after Max Schuman connected with the bat.
The Cougars wore their traditional royal blue uniforms, a recent tradition enjoyed in each of the three major sports when they play against the rival Utes. But Littlewood said the team could wear the royal blues a few more times throughout the season.
“We just wanted to wear these six or eight times in what we consider bigger games to bring back a little tradition,” Littlewood said.
The Cougars will go on the road for four games against Nicholls State on Mar. 6–8 and Dallas Baptist on Mar. 10.