For the second straight time, a dramatic late rally propelled the Utah baseball team (16-30) past rival BYU (19-31).
Junior third baseman Biss Larsen hit a walkoff single to left field to plate pinch-runner Dalton Carroll for a 5-4 victory before a season-high 3,800 fans at Smith’s Ballpark on Tuesday evening.
Utes 5, Cougars 4Junior Biss Larsen hits a single that drives in Dalton Carroll and gives Utah the win.
"You can’t expect anything less," said Utah coach Bill Kinneberg. "A one-run game with BYU — that’s the way it generally is."
BYU junior Brandon Kinser (3-4) took the loss, allowing line drives in consecutive full-count at-bats from Larsen and senior shortstop Cory Hunt.
"BYU ... I’m not going to lose to that guy," Hunt said. "[I was] just looking for something over the plate that I could drive, and luckily I got that pitch and didn’t miss it."
Fellow senior T.J. Bennett led off the bottom of the ninth with a double, freshman right fielder Josh Rose walked, and sophomore designated hitter A.J. Young drove home Bennett with a single to left.
Hunt followed with a liner to left center that scored Rose, Larsen knocked his game-winner, and a Gatorade bath ensued by first base.
"That’s gotta cap my baseball career," Larsen said. "I’ve been a college baseball player for years now, and that’s actually the first walk-off of my life. I couldn’t pick a better team to do it with and a better opponent to do it against."
Senior righty Desmond Poulson (4-5) went six innings for the Cougars, striking out seven and allowing two runs.
BYU freshman lefty Hayden Rogers had two perfect innings of relief until getting knocked around in the third and bestowing a mess upon teammate Kinser.
Senior Josh Chapman got the win for the Utes, allowing two hits and one run in an inning of relief. Utah senior lefty Tanner Banks (2-6) went just three innings to start the game, conceding three hits, one walk and one run.
BYU scored first in the top of the second after junior catcher Jarrett Jarvis reached out to line a Banks pitch into right, scoring senior right fielder Kelton Caldwell.
The Cougars extended the lead to 2-0 in the fifth when BYU sophomore Eric Urry hit a pinch-hit double to right, advanced on an error from Rose and then scored on a drive from BYU sophomore second baseman Trace Hansen.
In the sixth, Utah senior catcher Konnor Armijo hit a home run, driving in T.J. Bennett to knot the game at 2-2. It was Armijo’s second big hit against BYU in as many games after a grand slam in last week’s 12-10 Utah win.
"He’s hurt us this year, big time," said BYU head coach Mike Littlewood, adding that it was a rare error from Poulson and that Armijo "made him pay."
But BYU answered with runs from Jarvis and Urry in the seventh and ninth innings, setting up the storybook finish.
"We’ve been doing this all year," Kinneberg said. "Whatever our record is — and I don’t even know because I don’t want to look at it — our guys have battled every day from Day One whether we’ve been up or down."
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