Utah Valley baseball has played nearly four times as many games in the state of California this season than it has in Utah.
The Wolverines finally got to enjoy the confines of Brent Brown Ballpark again as they began a three-game set with Bakersfield March 28, prior to a crosstown trip to BYU.
Beginning the season by playing 21 of 24 games on the road, UVU (7-17) temporarily became a west-coast team. The Wolverines’ time in California included stops in Los Angeles, Malibu, Stockton, Long Beach and Northridge, before they were able to host a single contest in Orem.
Now, a roster made up of six more underclassmen than it has juniors and seniors, gets another taste of Western Athletic Conference play, as well as a shot at local bragging rights.
UVU captured its first series victory of the year, taking two of three from Dallas Baptist.
Senior Andrew Freter has suffered a couple of bad-luck losses, but the Wolverines scored five runs over the first three innings to ensure that his 6.1 innings pitched, six strikeouts and two earn runs, would be more than enough to take a 10-5 opener over the Patriots.
Junior shortstop Zach Slesk had three of UVU’s 14 hits and knocked in four runs.
Game two provided a different narrative, as the Wolverines trailed 3-1 through eight innings. A leadoff base hit from sophomore outfielder Craig Brinkerhoff got the rally started, and catcher interference and a bunt base hit loaded the bases.
Junior outfielder Jordy Hart was then hit with a pitch to bring home Brinkerhoff. Sophomore infielder Greyson Bogden then knotted the score with an RBI single, and sophomore first baseman Mark Krueger put the visitors on top with a sacrifice fly.
Sophomore infielder Beau Kallas added two insurance runs on a double to make it 6-3, although junior reliever Chad Michaud wouldn’t need any help slamming the door by retiring the side in the ninth.
Unfortunately for UVU, the late offensive outburst wouldn’t carry over to the next day. The Wolverines dropped the finale 4-1, and had to scuttle to Las Vegas for one game less than 48 hours after concluding the grueling three-game set.
UNLV sent UVU home with an 8-3 loss. No one on the team will make any excuses, but it’s safe to say the Wolverines feel good to be home.