Brett Bruneel pitched a masterful eighth inning to get Utah out of a jam and pick up the win Tuesday night.
March 20, 2007
SALT LAKE CITY - The Univerity of Utah baseball team scored six runs in its final two at-bats to defeat BYU 8-4 in a non-conference game Tuesday night at Franklin Covey Field.
Utah (7-14) played from behind for much of the evening. Both teams tallied a single run in the first inning. But BYU (13-8) took a 3-1 lead in the fourth, when Steve Parker hammered a two-run home run to right field. The Utes got a run back in the bottom of the inning on an RBI groundout from third baseman Erich Kemp to pull within one, 3-2.
Apana Nakayama, who hit a solo home run in the first inning for the Cougars, went deep again in the sixth to put his team up 4-2. Utah finally got its offense going a bit in the seventh. Catcher Jesse Shriner pushed a run home with an RBI groundout and designated hitter Bret Baldwin singled off BYU pitcher J.D. Stambaugh's leg to plate the tying run.
BYU threatened to regain the lead in the top of the eighth. Utah relief pitcher Geoff Wolfgramm walked Colin Fanning and then hit Nakayama to put runners at first and second with no outs.
But Ute hurler Brett Bruneel came in from the bullpen and kept the Cougars at bay. Bruneel allowed a sacrifice bunt to Parker and intentionally walked Stephen Wells to load the bases and put the double play in order. Bruneel then struck out BYU first baseman Kasey Ko for the second out of the inning. He then got pinch hitter Jason Johnson to line out to left field, keeping the contest deadlocked at 4-4.
Utah's offense fed off Bruneel's solid relief pitching in the bottom of the eighth. Left fielder Dustin Hennis led off the frame with a sharp single up the middle. Shortstop Mike Mitchell was then hit by a pitch. Center fielder Nate Burnham put down a bunt, which BYU reliever Michael Ward threw away, trying to force Hennis out at third. The error allowed Hennis to score the go-ahead run.
Bruneel gave up a two-out infield single in the ninth, but induced a ground ball to second base from Fanning to finish the job. Bruneel improved his record to 1-1 with the victory. He was one of seven Ute hurlers to see action in the contest. Ward took the loss for BYU, falling to 0-1 on the season. He allowed four runs (three earned) in one inning of work. The Cougars also ran seven different pitchers to the mound.
Shimada was 2-for-4 at the plate for Utah, driving in two runs and scoring three. Brossman was also 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI for the Utes. Nakayama did most of the damage for BYU. He finished 3-for-3 with two homers, two runs batted in and three runs scored.
Utah is back in action again this weekend. The Utes open the Mountain West Conference portion of their schedule with a three-game series beginning Friday at New Mexico.