By Warren McDade Staff Writer @warrenmcdade17
Photo Courtesy of UVU Athletics
Utah Valley University went into the bottom of the sixth inning with a 3-1 lead, but couldn’t quite hold on, giving up six late runs in a 7-3 loss to in-state foe Utah.
Both the Wolverines (5-15) and Utes (9-10) were looking for redemption after conference-opening series losses March 14-16. UVU lost two of three at home to North Dakota and Utah was swept by fourth-ranked Oregon State.
The Wolverines got on the scoreboard first in the fourth on a two-out single by Craig Brinkerhoff that scored Greyson Bogden and Sean Moysh to make it 2-0. Utah would get one back in the bottom of the inning after an error, one of four UVU errors for the day.
Beau Kallas would triple in the fifth and a wild pitch would allow him to score to push the Wolverine lead to 3-1. Another UVU error in the sixth gave Utah added life, and the Utes scored two more unearned runs to tie the game 3-3.
The seventh inning provided the deciding moment for the Utes, who scored three times on four singles and a sacrifice fly. Utah would add an insurance run in the eighth to make it 7-3.
Dylan Drachler (1-0) got the win for Utah, retiring all 11 hitters he faced—striking out the side in the ninth to seal the win.
Patrick Wolfe (0-1) registered the loss for Utah Valley. The Wolverines only managed three hits on the day: Moysh had one, as well as Brinkerhoff and Kallas.
The game was the first of four in-state contests for Utah Valley. The Wolverines will get another shot at the Utes in Brent Brown Ballpark April 22. They will also play BYU, once at home and once on the road.
In the series with North Dakota, Sean Moysh’s two-run home run in the eighth inning broke a 5-5 gridlock to give the Wolverines an 8-5 win in the series opener. UND won the series, however, by picking up 10-1 and 10-4 wins in the final two games.
Through 20 games, Moysh leads the team in RBIs with 13, and Brinkerhoff is second with 12. Mark Krueger has paced UVU with a .303 batting average, 23 hits and a .447 slugging percentage. He is also tied for the team lead in home runs with Moysh and Brinkerhoff, as each of them has two.
Meanwhile, Andrew Freter has posted a Wolverine-best 3.38 ERA and is second in batting average against at .264. Freter is yet to register a win, but that has more to do with run support than the overall quality of his outings.
Coach Eric Madsen’s team has struggled to find a groove early on. UVU ranks last in the Western Athletic Conference with a .223 team batting average and .949 fielding percentage. The Wolverines’ 5.79 ERA ranks eighth out of the 10 teams.
The statistics don’t necessarily tell the whole story, though. Four of UVU’s 15 losses have come in extra innings, and despite the overall weak conference rankings, the Wolverines are second in the WAC in home runs and fifth in runs scored.
Along those same lines, UVU’s pitching issues can, perhaps, be attributed to the third-most innings thrown in the WAC. The team is also right at or near the middle of the league in walks and home runs allowed.
The Wolverines were looking for strong performances in each aspect as they traveled to Dallas Baptist for a three-game series beginning March 21, before heading to Las Vegas for a mid-week single game against UNLV March 25.