Warren McDade, staff writer, @warrenmcdade17
Utah Valley University continued its tough early season schedule, playing its eighth road game in 10 days, and losing all three games at Pepperdine. The Wolverines’ bats were non-existent the first two games but came alive in the third game.
In the first game, Pepperdine (6-1) shut out UVU (2-6), 5-0, in a great pitching performance from the Waves’ Corey Miller.
Miller pitched a complete game, two-hit shutout, striking out 11 and walking only one.
Zach Slesk and Zac Fuller had the two hits apiece for the Wolverines, while Patrick Wolfe made his first collegiate appearance and pitched a scoreless eighth inning.
In the second game, Pepperdine used a five-run eighth inning to pull away from the Wolverines, 9-2. Already trailing 2-0 in the third, Jackson Kunz and Kade Andrus led off the inning with consecutive singles. After a sacrifice bunt from Riley White, Slesk doubled to the corner, tying the game 2-2.
UVU threatened in the seventh with runners at the corners, but was not able to trim the lead before Pepperdine pulled away with the five-run eighth inning. Andrus led the way for the Wolverines with two hits while Danny Beddes (0-1) took the loss for Utah Valley.
The third game proved to be the best of the series for UVU, though the Wolverines lost, 11-8, in 11 innings on a walk-off three-run home run from Pepperdine preseason All-American Aaron Brown. It was the third extra-inning game of the week as the Wolverines also went extras twice with Arizona.
“This was a long and tough road trip, and I’m proud of the way we fought today,” head coach Eric Madsen said. “Playing the number of games we have with the travel built in, and adding the extra inning games to that, and it does become taxing. We need to do a lot of things better; we’re better than our record shows, but we can’t expect things to just happen for us. We have to play better baseball all the way around.”
The Wolverines struck first as they scored three runs in the top of the first, with two coming from a throwing error, and the third a sac fly from Beau Kallas.
Pepperdine would answer with one in the bottom half of the first and another in the third, before a UVU error helped add two more in the fourth.
Craig Brinkerhoff would add a big hit in the fifth as he blasted a two-out, three-run home run to right that scored Sean Moysh and Slesk. The Wolverines would add two more in the sixth on an RBI single from Greyson Bogden and an infield hit from Moysh.
But Pepperdine would chip away, scoring once in the bottom of the sixth before a Brad Anderson two-run home run in the seventh, which cut the lead to one. The Waves then tied the game in the eighth on a RBI groundout.
UVU went scoreless in the ninth, 10th and 11th innings. Pepperdine got a double from Austin Davidson, and then an intentional walk to Bryan Langlois set up the game-winning home run from Brown.
Seth Rhineer had three hits to lead Utah Valley while Bogden and Slesk each had two hits.
The Wolverines look to rebound after leaving Southern California and head to Northern California to play the University of Pacific in a four-game series starting Feb. 28. Pacific (4-5) had its last series against San Jose State rained out.