Wolverine baseball off to a promising start
Photo by Mykah Heaton
Three Game Series at University of Southern California 2/16-2/18
When the Wolverines of Utah Valley headed to Southern California to play USC, they knew they had a tough task ahead of them. Coming off one of the worst seasons in program history, the Wolverines took on PAC-12 team USC in a three-game series starting on Feb 16. USC is known nationally for landing top recruits every year. The odds were stacked against UVU, but they showed that they should not be overlooked no matter what opponent.
Game one of the season showed just how good they can be. Jake Mayer started the game for the Wolverines and was solid through six innings of work. He gave up just one run off of four hits and one walk along with six strikeouts. The offense backed him up nicely, stringing together five runs off eight hits, one of which was a three-run homer by Jackson Overlund in the sixth inning. With both a solid offense and defense, the Wolverines walked away with a 5-1 victory over the Trojans.
Games two and three did not have the same outcome. However, both games showed very promising things. Game two had the Wolverines up 4-1 through six innings, but a four run seventh inning gave the Trojans 5-4 lead they needed to win. Despite the Wolverine’s loss, they were able to lead the game most of the way.
Game three was similar as UVU was off to an early lead and struggled throughout the middle innings. Leading 4-2 going into the sixth inning, the Wolverines allowed six runs and could not comeback despite scoring two runs in the seventh inning.
Four Game Series at University of Pacific 2/23-2/25
The Wolverines returned to Orem for a few days before heading to California for a game against the University of Pacific in a four-game series with a doubleheader on Saturday. The first two games did not go well for the Wolverines. Jake Mayer pitched a great game going eight innings and only allowing four runs and striking out eight batters. However, that wasn’t enough as the offense only managed four hits and zero runs on the board. It was a tough loss, but Mayer is off to a hot start and is a huge asset for the Wolverine pitching staff.
Games two and three were a doubleheader, which is always difficult on a team. Losing the first game 4-3 put the Wolverines at 1-4 on the year. However, they were able to bounce back in the second game and won 6-2. Overlund led the way in this game hitting for the cycle in the victory. He scored a home run in the second, a single in the fifth, a triple in the seventh and finished off the cycle with a double in the ninth inning. He completed a rare feat in baseball, and the first one for UVU since 2009.
Game four ended with a victory for the Wolverines as it evened the series with Pacific at 2-2. Kaden Schmitt pitched five strong innings giving the Wolverines a tie ball game. Two runs by UVU in the seventh broke the tie, and the Wolverines won 4-2.
Although the first stretch of games put the Wolverines with a losing record of 3-4, their current record is nothing to worry about. Compared to last year’s 1-6 start through the first seven games, this shows a lot of improvement. They were able to show great signs in both hitting and defense and this should give Wolverine fans a lot of excitement for this season.
Players of the Week
Three players deserve recognition for their work on the team: Mayer, Overlund and Trevor Peterson. Through 14 innings of work, Mayer posted a 2.57 earned run average, 14 strikeouts and only gave up two walks. Keep an eye out for him and expect some big things out of the pitcher his senior year.
On the offensive side, Overlund saw a great start to the season. Over the course of seven games, he hit one double, two triples, two home runs and batted in seven runs. Although his average is a little low at .267, it will only get better as the season continues. Peterson had a great start at the plate as well. Leading the team with 10 hits a .400 average, he looks to pick up where he left off last season.