In only its second NCAA season, the baseball team ended a dominant conference season with a huge 5-1 win in the Great West Conference championship game against Houston Baptist, giving them their second consecutive GWC Championship title.
After dominating the conference and winning the Great West Conference Championship in their first season, UVU baseball had a lot to live up to. They delivered, despite a slow start to their season. At one point early on, the team lost 10 non-conference games in a row.
“I think going on that losing streak early in the year really got us motivated to come out strong in conference,” said junior pitcher Jeremy Gendlek. “We really came together in conference and didn’t make mistakes and just played the game a lot better.”
Coming together is exactly what they did. Led by head coach Eric Madsen, the Wolverines turned their season around, ending with a conference record of 22 wins and two losses (34-22 overall).
“It’s surreal because you know how much work you’ve put in over the course of the year and how hard our guys have worked and what they’ve accomplished,” – Mark Madsen, head coach UVU baseball
UVU then set their sights on the Great West Conference Tournament, which began May 24th. In their first game, UVU had 15 hits and easily defeated Chicago State 13-3. In their second game, UVU ended a 3-3 tie in the seventh inning to go on to win 5-3.
The Wolverines won their third game 3-2 in an exciting game against North Dakota, putting them in the championship bracket against Houston Baptist.
“It’s surreal because you know how much work you’ve put in over the course of the year and how hard our guys have worked and what they’ve accomplished,” said Madsen in regards to winning the championship. “To see them celebrate every year is such an exciting and fantastic experience.”
With an exciting end to UVU’s second season in the conference, the program seems to be holding strong. Coach Madsen and his staff have worked to build the program up, and next season’s team is shaping up to be solid and well-balanced.
“We’ve had a very good recruiting year,” he said. “Plus, we had a ton of injuries this year. Jake Rickenbach will be back, Brian Whatcott will be back, Justin Campbell will be back.”
“I like our team next year already,” Madsen said.