Senior first baseman Goose Kallunki steps up to the plate in the Wolverines’ home opener against Sacramento State. Utah Valley returned from an extended road trip highlighted by a win against nationally ranked Arizona State. Photo courtesy of UVU athletics

The last two weeks have been a lot kinder to the Utah Valley baseball program than the previous two. After a disappointing 2-8 start to the season, the Wolverines have gone 5-3 against tough competition.


Following a three-game sweep of Southern Utah, the Wolverines spent their spring break in Arizona, splitting a two game series with then-No. 11 Arizona State. They were shut out 9-0 in a frustrating first game, but turned the tables the next day by winning 9-6.


“We’ve had a lot of bright spots,” Madsen said. “We’ve seen it at the plate, we’ve had glimpses on the mound, so there are a lot things we are excited about headed into this stretch of home games. We found a way to make things hard on ourselves losing a lot early but things are starting to come together.”


Despite the optimism, UVU managed to drop its home opener 13-3 against Sacramento State on Thursday night in the first of a three-game set. It was a rough night for anyone on the mound as six different players toed the rubber.


“We really played into their hands,” Madsen said. “We pounded the strike zone pretty flat, so it’s easy to hit when you are that aggressive. You’ve got to give them (Sacramento State) a lot of credit, they got after it and did their thing. We’ve got to evaluate our plan. I think we’ve got a good one and we’ll rebound for sure, but again it comes down to being aggressive with everything we do.”


Sacramento State jumped out quick with three runs in the second inning but the Wolverines answered back with two of their own in the bottom of the inning. The killer inning was the third due to an inning-extending, two-out error. Sacramento State knocked in four runs prior to the error but after failing to shut the door and get out with only minor damage, Utah Valley gave up another four runs as they fell behind 11-2.


“It’s disappointing to play that way in front of our home fans,” Madsen said. “There’s a couple of plays that if we make (them), we eliminate six runs. They scored six runs after two-out errors. That’s the disappointing part.”


After their series with Sacramento State, the Wolverines will welcome SUU to Orem in an early season rematch.


By Jonathan Boldt