Spring sports have been shut down on campus, as well as across the nation, because of COVID-19. But, it’s still worthwhile to reflect upon what defined the seasons of some winter and spring sports. In this week’s column, we will be looking at a record-breaking statistic for men’s basketball, the number of blowout wins by the softball team, and an astronomical earned run average allowed by the baseball team.
Number 1: 81
Emmanuel Olojakpoke transferred to Utah Valley prior to his senior season after playing the last three years with Akron. During his time there, he averaged just shy of one blocked shot per game. That number went through the roof as a Wolverine however, as the 6’8” forward saw his role and playing time increase significantly.
Olojakpoke finished the 2019-20 season with a total of 81 rejections, smashing the school’s previous record of 71, set during the 2017-18 season by Akolda Manyang. He played in all 30 games for the Wolverines and increased his number of blocks per game to 2.7 — which put him 10th among all NCAA men’s basketball players last season.
Number 2: 7
Before their season was cut short by the coronavirus, the softball team was on track for an impressive season. Their 12-7 record didn’t reflect all of their potential, given that the team ended the year on an uncharacteristic three-game losing skid. What is impressive about their 12 wins is the fact that seven of them came by a margin of four runs or more. They didn’t just win, when everything went right, the softball team was unstoppable.
Unfortunately, they did struggle with their fair share of disappointing outings. They also managed to lose four games by more than four runs, including 14 and 10 run losses late in the season. For all their inconsistencies, the team showed the incredible upside and it is a shame they didn’t get a full season to iron out all their wrinkles.
Number 3: 5.44
Unlike softball, the baseball team was never able to find any significant rhythm in their shortened season. The team started the season with a four-game losing streak, won one game and proceeded to lose another four straight. They showed flashes of offensive ability, most notably in their game against Brigham Young University, when they took a four-run lead in the top of the first-inning — only to squander that lead by the end of the second.
The baseball team finished with a 5.44 earned run average, which was only made worse by the team’s average offensive output of 2.67 runs. In their final game of the season, the Wolverines scored 12 runs but still lost to Air Force 17-12. The year was a lesson in destructive interference for the baseball team as they failed to put up strong offensive and defensive outings in the same game.
With no sports for the foreseeable future, fans all over the world are looking back on the successes, and failures, of their favorite teams. While this has been an up and down season for UVU sports, there is still a lot to look forward to in the coming years, because win or lose, everyone can appreciate being able to cheer on the Wolverines once again. Until then, stay safe!
Photo by Hunter Hall