The Utah Valley University baseball team fell to neighboring rival BYU on Tuesday night by a score of 6-1 at Larry H. Miller Field in Provo.
The Cougars (11-1) scored six runs on just four hits en route to their 11th victory of the season, while the Wolverines (7-7) dropped to .500 on the year following the setback.
"You've got to give BYU a lot of credit. They are a good team and they did a lot of things well in this one," head coach Eric Madsen said. "I was disappointed with our approach at the plate tonight. We have to be tougher. Even on the mound, we need to find a way to get the job done."
The Cougars were the first to get on the board by manufacturing a pair of first-inning runs without getting a hit. Following a sacrifice fly from Eric Urry, the UVU defense then dropped what would have been the third out of the inning to allow BYU to plate an unearned run and take a 2-0 advantage.
After two scoreless innings, Brigham Young then loaded the bases in the fourth and managed to score four times to extend its lead to 6-0. Following a bases loaded hit by pitch, Hayden Nielsen delivered the big hit in the inning with a two-run single to right and Brennon Anderson followed with an RBI single of his own to give the Cougars a six-run advantage.
Following back-to-back singles from Mark Krueger and Spencer Gothberg to open the seventh, the Wolverines looked to have something going. The Cougar infield then turned a double play, but UVU got on the board when Paul Estrada stole second and Krueger came in to score from third on an errant throw from BYU's catcher to make it a 6-1 contest.
Trevor Howell then began the eighth for the Wolverines with the only extra-base hit of the game with a leadoff double to left-center. But BYU reliever Keaton Cenatiempo then retired the next three batters he faced to strand Howell on second base, and Riley Gates stuck out the side in the ninth to keep it a 6-1 contest.
Four Wolverines tallied a hit apiece for UVU in the game, as Krueger and Gothberg each finished 1-for-4 while Ryne Edmondson and Howell each went 1-for-3 in the ballgame.
Danny Beddes was tagged with the loss after allowing five earned runs on just two hits in 3.2 innings, while Maverik Buffo improved to 3-0 on the season for BYU after not allowing a run in an inning of shutout baseball. Four Wolverine relievers finished with scoreless outings for UVU in the contest, as Marco Briones, Evan Fresquez, Greg McCuch and Matt Davidson combined to give up just two hits and no runs in 4.1 innings of solid relief.
The Wolverines now return to Orem to prepare for their 2016 home-opening series against the Portland Pilots of the West Coast Conference this weekend, March 10-13, at Brent Brown Ballpark. The four-game non-conference series is set to get underway on Thursday at 6 p.m.
"Portland has played well so far this season," Madsen said. "We're going to have to come in and play solid baseball. If you play good baseball, you definitely find ways to win games. We'll look to improve in a couple of areas and be more consistent this weekend."
James Warnick is an assistant sports information director at Utah Valley University. For more information about Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.