Mike Littlewood's squad played 5 games last week. This week, they play 4 more games. Sometimes the biggest opponent in baseball is attrition.
In order to save the arms of his pitchers for both the short and long run, Coach Littlewood sent 8 pitchers to the mound for the Cougars on Tuesday night vs. Utah. Fans witnessed Cougar hurlers Buffo, Rogers, Walker, Gates, Brinkerhoff, Cenatiempo, Burrup, and Marshall. A collection of righties and lefties, traditional and sidearm, tall and short, mustached and clean shaven each throwing their specialty fastballs, changeups, sinkers, sliders, and curves. Despite the variety of looks, deliveries, and pitches all 8 of these pitchers shared 1 thing in common against the Utes.
None of them allowed a run to score.
Collectively BYU pitchers stat line reads: 9 innings pitched, 10 hits, 9 strike outs, 2 base on balls, 125 pitches, 79 strikes thrown, 0 runs.
Despite the collective effort from the bullpen, Lefty Riley Gates was awarded the win. Gates has been lights out lately. He had struck out 8 of his last 9 batters. He K'd 2 Utes.
While scoring 1 run would have been enough to beat Utah, BYU managed to put 6 batters across home plate.
The Cougars struck first in the bottom of the 4th inning when 2nd baseman Brennon Anderson hit the gap in right center field causing the baseball to roll all the way to the wall. Anderson would motor 270 feet for a RBI triple scoring Eric Urry who reached base after being hit by a pitch.
After 3.5 innings @BYUBaseball breaks the tie on this triple to give #BYU a lead over the #Utes live on @byutv pic.twitter.com/CyiLplzDN4— BYUtv Sports (@byutvsports) March 16, 2016
With Anderson 90 feet away from scoring, Brock Hale hit a ball right up the middle splitting the infield for a RBI single. 2-0 BYU.
The next inning BYU hit with power. Tanner Chauncey, who had missed games last week due to injury, hit a double. Eric Urry would repeat with a double of his own that scored Chauncey. 3-0 BYU.
Next, Colton Shaver stepped up to the plate and did this:
Pull out the big guns! @ColtonSshaver unloads on this ball for massvie 2-run bomb live on @byutv pic.twitter.com/4DDZWltejP— BYUtv Sports (@byutvsports) March 16, 2016
Shaver's 2-run blast to left field sailed OVER the scoreboard. 5-0 BYU.
Colton Shaver now leads the Cougars with 5 homers on the season. Shaver's bomb against the Utes was his 7th home run against the Utes in 4 career rivalry games. Again, 7 HOME RUNS in 4 GAMES AGAINST UTAH!
It has been awhile since we have been able to label a BYU athlete as a "Ute Killer," but sophomore Colton Shaver is the biggest Ute Killer BYU has seen since Jimmer Fredette left campus in 2011.
The Cougars final run was scored in the bottom of the 8th when Nate Favero reached home via a Utah wild pitch and a throwing error to 3rd base that sailed into left field.
The Cougars improve their record to 16-1. BYU has won 10 straight. The Brigham Bats are the 29th ranked team in the nation in the NCBWA Top 30 poll (marking first national ranking in 22 years) and are receiving votes in both the USA Today Coaches and D1Baseball.com Top 25 polls. The 16-1 mark is the best start in team history by a landslide. For reference, last season, it took the BYU Baseball team 33 games to reach 16 victories and were 7-10 thru 17 games.
BYU begins West Coach Conference play on Thursday against the Pacific Tigers. The Cougars and Tigers will play a 3-game series in Provo.