A night at a ballgame: UVU at BYU

In what turned out to be a last-minute decision, we took the man cub and the diaper dandy to their final college baseball game of the year this week. The man cub has been asking to go to a game for a while now, and we lucked out with Utah Valley and BYU meeting in the final installment of the Crosstown Clash. This game was much closer than the previous meeting as BYU edged UVU 7-6 after a pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth inning.

This game was played at BYU’s Larry H. Miller Field, which is situated southeast across the street from LaVell Edwards Stadium, where the Cougars play football.

Miller Field looks like a much bigger ballpark from the street than it really is. Part of this illusion might come because the baseball field backs up to the softball field and they share a concourse. The grandstand itself isn’t real big. The whole thing has 17 rows and the seats don’t extent past the dugouts. There are some overflow bleachers down the right field line between the visitors dugout and bullpen, but I didn’t see anybody sitting there because there wasn’t a need.

Despite the size of the stadium, compared to Brent Brown Ballpark (the site of the previous game) the draw at Miller Field still surprised me. UVU reported attendance at 4,619 in the previous game, which doesn’t seem outlandish given the capacity of the stadium and what I actually saw while I was there. However, the West Coast Conference-leading Cougars reported attendance at 1,702 (with a lot of empty seats) for the final home game of the season. I would have thought BYU would draw better, especially given the circumstances of the game.

As for the game, this one moved along considerably faster (36 minutes shorter) than the previous meeting between the two teams. It was a fun game to watch as both teams were not only getting outs, but also putting the ball in play. The pitchers were letting their fielders work for them and distributing the wealth around the diamond. UVU starter Kaden Schmitt did a great job throwing strikes and keeping the pace of the game moving, but reliever Patrick Wolfe came in with two outs in the fourth and the game came to a screeching halt. Wolfe worked at a snail’s pace, couldn’t find the strike zone and fans started counting between pitches, often reaching an 11 or 12 count. As a result, both squads fell asleep from the dead pace and hitting fell off a cliff. Wolfe finished the fifth inning and the game sped back up again.

We made it through the seventh-inning stretch so the man cub could sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” then headed home. As we got to the car, BYU’s Brock Hale hit a two-run homer to left field to cut the Cougars’ deficit to 6-5. It turned out to be the beginning of the end for the Wolverines.

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