Corey Shimada's three-run homer lifted Utah over BYU Saturday in San Diego.
April 1, 2006
SAN DIEGO - University of Utah freshman Corey Shimada hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift the Utes to a 6-3 win over BYU Saturday afternoon in the Mountain West Conference Preseason Tournament at Tony Gwynn Stadium.
Utah (13-12, 2-1 MWC) led 3-2 after seven innings, behind a strong outing from starting pitcher Lucas Trinnaman. But the Cougars' Ben Saylor led off the top of the eighth with a homer, tying the game 3-3 and knocking Trinnaman from the contest. Ute reliever Brandon Ast took over and recorded the next three BYU batters to keep the game deadlocked.
In Utah's half of the eighth, right fielder Joe Mozeleski singled to left field with one out. Catcher Adam Frank followed with a base knock through the left side. That brought Shimada - the Utes' No. 9 hitter - to the plate. He promptly ripped an Anthony Bingham offering down the line for a three-run dinger, putting Utah up 6-3.
Ast allowed just one walk in the ninth and got some stellar defensive play behind him to preserve the three-run victory. Utah second baseman Tyler Kmetko made an outstanding catch, running away from the infield on Casey Nelson's short fly ball to help Ast's cause. Ast (1-1) tossed two scoreless innings and didn't allow a single hit, picking up his first victory.
"We had a lot of opportunities to score early on and didn't get it done," Utah head coach Bill Kinneberg said. "But Ryan Khoury and Shimada got some big hits for us later on. Trinnaman did a nice job keeping us with them for seven innings. Ast did a really good job closing it out."
The Utes got another two-out hit from Mozeleski in the sixth to start a rally. Frank and Shimada walked to load the bases, before shortstop Ryan Khoury belted a two-run double to give Utah its 3-2 lead. Mozeleski was 4-for-4 at the plate with three runs scored for Utah. He was the only player in the contest with more than one hit.
Brandon Christiansen tossed six innings for BYU, allowing three runs on five hits and did not figure in the decision. Bingham (0-1) allowed three runs on three hits in two innings of work and took the loss for the Cougars.
The loss sent BYU home with a 1-3 mark in the MWC Preseason Tournament. The Utes are now 2-1 in the event and will face New Mexico Sunday afternoon to wrap up play in the event.
"We'll have to put it all together tomorrow," Kinneberg said. "New Mexico is a very good club."