The wrestling team had a NCAA Nationals qualifier in Josh Wilson. Allah Laryea-Akrong and Megan Burr set school records at the Bronco Track Invitational. The UVU basketball team went on an unprecedented 13-game winning streak to end their season.
So it is to no one’s surprise – except everyone – that the UVU baseball team has defeated two nationally ranked teams this season, are leading the Great West Conference and all with an ERA of over 5.00.
Although the pitching wasn’t as great as it possibly could have been, UVU has been able to pull off victories no one was expecting in the most unforeseen fashion.
After getting shut out earlier in the season by then-ranked No. 11 Arizona State in the first game of their two game set, UVU came back in the second game and scored nine runs to upset the Sun Devils 9-6. A few games later they went on a five-game winning streak, averaging almost 13 runs a game, including a game where they scored 17 runs on 15 hits and tying the school record with six homeruns.
“I think our pitching kept us in games,” head coach Eric Madsen said earlier in their season. “I’ve been pleased with our pitching. I think it’s good to see our hitting finally come along and catch up with our pitching, really.”
This was after a game where UVU scored 17 runs against SUU. Madsen asked for more, though.
“I thought we should’ve scored 34,” Madsen said.
UVU is currently averaging 6.5 runs a game and giving up an average of 5.75 runs a game. The pitching gives enough space for the offense to bring in the victory. On Thursday night against No. 4 Arizona, it was no different. Starting pitcher Jeremy Gendlek gave an outstanding performance and Taylor Mangum and Josh Swenson were able to hold off the Wildcats for the victory, 5-4. Together they combined for seven hits and four runs over nine innings while the Wolverines’ bats scratched across five runs with seven hits.
“I think you scratch and grind,” Madsen said about the team effort. “You just got to kind of keep going through it. That’s kind of what hitting is. You just got to grind through it sometimes.”
It is rare to see a team go on a winning streak when their ERA hovers around the 5.00 mark but it has been enough to get the mark on the win column.
While the Wolverines have an ERA over 5.00, their opponents have an ERA over 6.00. While opponents of UVU are batting .296, Utah Valley is batting .299. Their opponents’ on-base percentage might be a .365, but UVU’s OBP is .381. UVU is showing that they are better than other teams out there, even if it is just slightly. They might be boasting a 13-11 record, but their energy and adrenaline is making them play like a 15-9 team.
The Wolverines look to finish the sports year right, but they have a long way to go. Maybe they’ll end the season on a 13-game winning streak, or set records, or maybe they can be a nationally ranked team by the end of the season. Whatever they may or may not accomplish, the UVU baseball team is trying to make the national spotlight and this year could be the year they do it, even if that spotlight is dim.