Photo by Devan Bennett
OREM — Jackson Cofer pitched 7 2/3 innings of one-run ball and UVU beat Chicago State University 4-1 Friday evening at Brent Brown Ballpark.
The bases were loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning for Jackson Overlund who singled to knock in Justin Erlandson and tie the game at one run a piece. Callahan Moltzan gave UVU the lead with another hit and Jake Berry flied out to center field, allowing Trevor Howell to tag up from third base and score to give UVU a 3-1 lead and give Cofer all of the run support he would need.
Erlandson had walked to begin the inning and then David Modler was plunked on the shoulder in a two-strike count. Howell laid down a textbook bunt down the third-base line that he beat out for a hit.
Cofer struck out seven batters in the game and was able to work around four walks. He threw 121 pitches in the outing, 81 of them for strikes. He picked up his second win of the season after allowing six earned runs in three innings in a loss at Bakersfield last week.
“It’s always good when you come out with a win,” Cofer said. “For me at least, it was good to come out and pitch like I know I’m capable of pitching.”
In the top of the third inning, Cougars’ left fielder Jacob Vanitvelt knocked in the first run of the game with a single to center field. Zach Thomas and Juilan Russell had set the table for Vanitvelt with runners at second and third on a single and deep double to center field, respectively. After the run scored, Cofer was able to strand two runners to end the threat.
A couple of errors and a walk loaded the bases again in the top of the fifth inning, but Cofer escaped that jam when Joe Baier was picked off at third base, the second CSU played to be picked off in the game.
“Jackson pitched extremely well, even out of some trouble,” head coach Eric Madsen said. “When we had a big mess, he just bore down and found a way to get out of that too. So, I felt like Jackson controlled the game.”
Overlund, the Wolverines’ centerfielder, drove a ball headed for the left-field line in the fifth inning, but third baseman Cody Freund stabbed it to rob UVU of a hit that would have tied the game. They strung a couple of hits together in the inning to put a runner in scoring position but the score remained 1-0 in favor of Chicago State.
Catcher Jake Atkinson reached base on a passed third strike in the eighth inning and came around to score on a base hit to right field hit by Howell. That made the score 4-1 and added an insurance run for the Wolverines.
Lefty Patrick Wolfe entered the game in the eighth inning to try and complete the four-out save. Wolfe retired all four batters he faced and earned his eighth save of the season.
UVU will hand the ball to Jake Mayer Saturday, who will face the Cougars’ Brad Moore, in the first game of a doubleheader. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. MDT.
Ty Bianucci is a life-long fan of the San Francisco Giants, 49ers and Golden State Warriors who started on the sports beat for The Review, but now contributes investigative stories. He, along with two of his colleagues, were awarded the Sunshine Award in 2018 by the Society of Professional Journalists.