After the closing of Utah Valley University’s 32-game winning streak last Tuesday, first basemen Goose Kallunki stated that the team has fought and will continue to fight for the rest of the season. The last series of regular season play for the Wolverines was no exception as they swept Northern Colorado.
Tuesday night started off the Great West Conference Tournament which is being hosted by Utah Valley University this season. The Wolverines played the final game of the day against the NYIT Bears. The Bears scored seven runs in the fourth inning to take away the Wolverines 8-0 lead, but the runs continued for UVU and four straight scoreless innings from New York resulted in a 17-10 victory for Utah Valley.
“There were a lot of highs and lows but we’re extremely happy,” head coach Eric Madsen said. “You have to win the first game and that’s something that we have struggled with in the tournaments. But I thought our guys came out great and did what they needed to do.”
In the bottom of the second inning, Kai Hatch hit an RBI single putting UVU ahead 6-0. Following the run, Alex Exon hit an RBI single and UVU scored a run off a New York error to give UVU’s largest lead at 8-0.
NYIT scored their first run of the night in the top of the third inning from a Joey LaCugna RBI single. But New York’s largest run came in the fourth inning taking The Wolverines out of their 8-1 comfort zone.
The Bears scored on a two-run double followed immediately by a two-run double by Ali Rodriguez to help NYIT catch up to UVU at 8-7. Later a New York RBI double would tie the game 8-8.
“I was disappointed in the lack of focus, that they [New York] were able to score runs,” Madsen said. “We had multiple opportunities to get out of that inning defensively.”
Utah Valley continued to score three runs in the sixth inning. UVU’s last runs of the night came in the eighth inning when Billy Burgess’s walk to first loaded the bases.
Following the walk, Hatch’s hit created a two-out double play bringing one runner home to advance the Wolverines to a 17-10 lead, the score that would eventually lead UVU to the victory to close out the ninth inning.
“I think we just need to focus on the task at hand and find a way to play better and do what we have done all season.” Madsen said.
Tuesday night’s victory will put Utah Valley up against Huston Baptist on Wednesday night at 7 pm at Brent Brown Ballpark. Huston Baptist’s Great West Conference record stands at 15-13.