Jay Brossman's three-run homer Wednesday was wasted in a 9-8 loss to BYU.
May 24, 2006
LAS VEGAS - After being swept by Brigham Young University in a three-game series last week, the University of Utah baseball team had the Cougars on the ropes Wednesday at the Mountain West Conference Tournament. But the Utes couldn't hold an 8-4 lead in the ninth inning, dropping a 9-8 decision.
Utah had a four-run edge going into the bottom of the ninth its closer on the mound. But Brad DeVore, who picked up a save in Tuesday's game, couldn't close the door on the Cougars. BYU tallied four consecutive hits, a sacrifice fly and another base hit against DeVore to open the inning. Those six batters scored the four runs necessary to tie the game at 8-8 and knocked DeVore from the game.
Brian Lane came out of the bullpen to try to push the game to extra innings. After an intentional walk to set up the potential double play, he induced a ground ball out. Another intentional walk brought Daniel Vargas to the plate. Vargas, who entered the game earlier in the inning as a pinch-runner, poked a single through the left side of the infield, chasing home the game-winning run.
"We just couldn't close it out and make the pitches we had to down the stretch," Utah head coach Bill Kinneberg said. "With a four-run lead in the ninth and our closer on the mound, we just didn't get it done."
Utah grabbed control of the game early on, building a 7-0 lead behind timely hitting and a solid pitching performance from starter Lucas Trinnaman. Jay Brossman hammered a three-run home run in the first inning to give the Utes a three-run lead. Ryan Khoury ripped a two-run triple in the fourth. That was followed by an RBI double off the bat of Bret Baldwin, putting the Utes up 6-0.
DeVore took over for Trinnaman in the bottom of the eighth. The Cougars tallied twice against DeVore on a two-run single from Jeff Hiestand. Utah got what looked like an insurance run in the top of the ninth, when Erich Kemp scored on a wild pitch, putting Utah back on top by four and setting the stage for the Cougar comeback.
"We really had the game in control all the way," Kinneberg said. "We just let it slip away. We could have scored a lot more runs and not had to worry about it. We just needed a few more key hits. Lucas Trinnaman pitched a great game and really put us in a great position."
Utah will now face either New Mexico or TCU in the losers' bracket Thursday. First pitch for that game is slated for 1:30 p.m. MDT.