Playing their in-state rivals on their home field in front of 1,904 screaming fans, the Cougars pounced on Utah early and walked away with a 20-3 win.
“We got dominated in every phase of the game today,” said head coach Bill Kinneberg. “Pitching, defense and our offense. We have to put this one in the books and get back to practice tomorrow and get ready for the weekend.”
In the opening frame, BYU took a six-run lead off Utes’ senior pitcher Tanner Banks, who struggled to find his rhythm. Banks faced nine batters and surrendered four hits and two walks. He was pulled by Kinneberg after getting just one out.
Fellow senior Luke West came in to relieve Banks but didn’t last much longer and also struggled against the Cougar hitters. West pitched two-thirds of an inning, facing seven batters. He gave up four earned runs on five hits before getting yanked by Kinneberg with no outs in the second inning.
As if things couldn’t get any worse, they did when freshman Dylan Drachler came in for West. Drachler gave up five earned runs on four hits while only pitching one-third of an inning. Josh Chapman replaced Drachler and finally got Utah out of the second frame, but by then BYU held a whopping 18-0 advantage. The Utes’ first four pitchers picked up just a single strikeout.
“First two innings, you know, were disastrous for us on the hill and on defense,” Kinneberg said. “That was really hard to overcome.”
While Utah’s extreme pitching woes were the main story Tuesday, the team struggled in every phase of the game. The Utes committed five errors to the Cougars’ one andtallied just six hits, three of which came in the final inning with the
contest long decided. Utah’s three hits early in the contest came from TJ Bennett, Wyler Smith and Max Schuman, but the Utes couldn’t manufacture any runs from them.
“We just have to trust each other,” Schuman said. “We just have to stay with what we are doing, and it’ll all turn around.”
After BYU tacked on two more runs to make the score 20-0, Utah finally got on the board in the final frame to avoid the shutout.
The Utes will have to rebound quickly, as they will begin preparation for this weekend’s UTA Invitational in Texas. They will play UT Arlington twice, Abilene Christian and Missouri State.
“At the end of the day, this loss is gone tomorrow,” Schuman said. “It’s in the past. It’s what’s at the end of the year, it’s not what’s right now.”