Jay Brossman drove in four of Utah's eight runs Tuesday at the MWC Championship. (Photo by Brent Asay)
May 23, 2006
LAS VEGAS - The University of Utah baseball team upset No. 3-seeded San Diego State at the Mountain West Conference Baseball Championship Tuesday afternoon. The No. 6-seeded Utes took an 8-5 win at Earl E. Wilson Stadium behind a four-run fourth inning.
With the victory, Utah (28-26) assured itself of its first .500-or-better season since 2002. It is also just the second time in the last 10 years that the Utes will finish at least .500.
The Utes grabbed an early 2-0 lead behind senior shortstop Ryan Khoury. The MWC Player of the Year led off the game with a double to left field and later scored on an Aztec error. In the third, Khoury was hit by a pitch and later scored on a groundout to give the Utes their two-run lead. SDSU got one back in the bottom of the third to make it 2-1.
Utah broke the game open in the top of the fourth. Center fielder John Welsh led off with a single. A walk to right fielder Joe Mozeleski and a wild pitch put runners at second and third with one out. A pair of run-scoring singles from catcher Adam Frank and Khoury made it 4-1. Then, with two outs, first baseman Jay Brossman tallied a two-run single to put Utah up 6-1.
San Diego State (23-25)scored a single run in the bottom of the frame. However, Utah increased its advantage to 8-2 with single runs in the fifth and sixth. The Utes got an RBI double from Mozeleski in the fifth and a run-scoring single off the bat of Brossman in the sixth.
Utah starter Josh Cooper got into a bit of trouble in the bottom of the sixth. The Aztecs used a single, a walk and a hit batsman to load the bases. Paul Smyth followed with a two-run single, knocking Cooper out of the game and getting SDSU within four, 8-4. But Ute reliever Shad McCord put the fire out, retiring the next three Aztecs in order.
Utah turned the ball over to closer Brad DeVore in the ninth. He retired the Aztecs in order in the ninth, notching his seventh save.
Cooper (6-6) worked five innings and allowed four runs on five hits to pick up the victory for Utah. McCord allowed one run on one hit in three important innings of middle relief. Masterson (6-7) allowed all eight Ute runs in five innings of work, taking the loss for SDSU.
Brossman and Khoury each tallied two hits to lead the Ute offense. Khoury scored twice and drove in one run. Brossman tallied four RBIs. The Aztec offense was led by Berry, who was 3-for-5 with three runs scored and an RBI.
Utah advances to a likely second-round matchup with No. 2 seed BYU Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. PDT. The Cougars were slated to face off with No. 7 seed Air Force later in the day on Tuesday.