Wolverines split Friday doubleheader against UC Riverside 1-1

Reading Time: 4 minutes The Wolverines defeated UC Riverside for the first time in program history on Friday as they split with the Highlanders 1-1 in a doubleheader.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The Utah Valley men’s baseball team (3-3) went 1-1 in their first two games of the weekend against the University of California – Riverside Highlanders (2-3) on Friday at Gene Autry Park in Mesa, Arizona.

The Wolverines won game one of the doubleheader 5-4 after scoring all five of their runs in the first four innings, including a three-run third inning, and then held off UC Riverside to attain the victory. 

However, the Highlanders routed the Wolverines in the second game 8-1 after scoring six runs in the third inning and then two more in the sixth to win big over UVU.

The Wolverines batted at a .200 hitting percentage during the first game, clocking in seven hits and four runs batted in en route to scoring five runs. The Wolverines only struck out twice and had three batters walked.

Mathew Schwartz led the way for the Wolverines, going 2-4 from the plate, including hitting a triple, along with scoring two runs. Patrick Mills had a three-run home run for UVU in the third inning. Four other Wolverines had a hit as well. 

UVU starting pitcher Logan Gerling (2-0) picked up the win, pitching five innings, six strikeouts, five groundouts, and four fly outs while only only allowing three runs off eight hits.

Ethan Fowlks, who picked up his second save of the season, pitched the last four innings in relief for Gerling. Fowlks allowed only one run and three hits while pitching two strikeouts, five groundouts, and four fly outs. 

The Wolverines had the same hitting percentage and number of hits in the second game as they did in the first; however, they seven batters strike out and 11 runners stranded on base over the course of the game. 

All seven hits came from a different Wolverine and Nate Bach scored the sole run of the game for UVU.

The Wolverines had three different pitchers over the course of the game. 

Luke McCollough started the game, pitching the first 2.1 innings, two strikeouts, two fly outs, and three groundouts. However, he gave up four hits and earned four runs.

Casey Anderson came in relief for McCollough, pitched the next 3.2 innings, but surrendered four hits and four runs as well along with three walks. Though, Anderson did force eight groundouts and had a strikeout.

Chase Hennessey pitched the last two innings, allowing only one hit, while adding a strikeout, three fly outs, and one groundout through 28 pitches.

UVU started the first game with a Schwartz triple in the second inning. Garrett Broussard followed with a sacrifice groundout to the infield which scored Schwartz to give the Wolverines a 1-0 lead early.

The Highlanders responded in the bottom frame by getting Mason Grace and Jayden Lopez, respectively, on the corners of the diamond with two outs. Alphonzo Mancinas then blasted an RBI triple to right field which scored Grace and Lopez to give UC Riverside a 2-1 edge over UVU.

The Wolverines answered immediately in the top of the third as Trey Cutchen and Calyn Halvorson got into scoring position for UVU. Mills followed with a three-run home run to center right field which gave the Wolverines a 4-2 lead over the Highlanders.

UVU kept things going in the top of the fourth inning as Schwartz and Broussard reached second and first base, respectively. Cole Jordan then forced a fielder’s choice that scored Schwartz to extend the Wolverines’ lead out to 5-2.

The Highlanders were able to respond in the bottom frame as Jacob Badawi kept the inning alive with a two-out double. Grace then batted in Badawi with a grounder through the left side, cutting the Wolverines’ lead down to 5-3.

After a few scoreless fifth inning, UC Riverside started the bottom of the sixth inning strong as Lopez crushed a leadoff double. Badawi followed right after with an RBI single up the middle to score Lopez and put the Highlanders back within one run of the Wolverines. However, Fowlks was able to escape the jam for the Wolverines after forcing three consecutive outs to finish the inning.

The Highlanders never threatened to score again throughout the remainder of the game as the Wolverines pulled away with 5-4 win and a 1-0 edge in the series. The win as also the first-ever win over the Highalnders in program history.

However, the second game did not fall in the Wolverines’ favor.

The Wolverines opened the top of the first inning with Cutchen and Halvorson in scoring position with no outs. However, UCR starting pitcher Eric Marruju got out of trouble by forcing three-straight outs to close out the inning.

UVU got runners on base again in the third inning as Daniel Dickinson and Mills, respectively, were able to reach base with two outs. However, Marraju once again escaped the jam by striking out Bach to finish the inning.

UC Riverside then broke through in the bottom frame, hitting the baseball six times while scoring six runs to command a 6-0 lead early.

After scoreless innings for both teams, the Highlanders picked things back up in the bottom of the sixth inning, scoring two runs off two RBI hits to UC Riversdide an 8-0 advantage.

The Wolverines tried to respond in the top of the seventh with Brandon Luna and Jordan reaching base with only one out. However, Highlander reliever Jake Gebb was able to stifle the Wolverines by closing out the inning with two-straight outs. 

 Bach was able to put the Wolverines on the board in the top of the eighth inning after the Highlanders had three infield errors, cutting the deficit down to 8-1. 

However, the rest of the game went scoreless and the Highlanders ultimately won 8-1 to even the series 1-1.

The Wolverines next travel to Riverside, California to take on the Highlanders in another doubleheader on Sunday at the Riverside Sports Complex to conclude the series. Game one will start at 12 p.m. MT and game two will commence right after at 3:30 p.m. MT. 

Tune into UVUReview.com for updates and results on the conclusion of the series and for more baseball content.