Since being home, UVU has pulled off something they weren’t able to accomplish on the road this season: have a winning record.
The Wolverines lost their first game at home but then went on an 11-game winning streak, including one on the road against the Utah Utes. Jeremy Gendlek got his groove back after an early season slump by winning his last five starts. First baseman Goose Kallunki batted in 20 runs in that span, including a walk-off double in the 10th inning against Great West Conference rival North Dakota. Austin Heaps has had a great 11-game span, including a game in which he drove in a team record-tying six runs, also against North Dakota.
And then there was that one game.
UVU was able to defeat fourth-ranked Arizona at home and then follow it up and defeat the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Both Pac-12 teams, both huge victories for the UVU program. After their victory over Utah, Head Coach Eric Madsen still sees a little room for improvement.
“We’re playing good baseball right now,” Madsen said. “We still have some things we can improve on but the guys are playing with confidence and with the will to win.”
In between these games, they had a four game set against conference foe North Dakota. They were able to pull off victories in all four, with one of them going into extra innings and the other three games ending early (two in the seventh inning, one in the eighth inning). There were two heroes in the first game in Jake Rickenbach and Goose Kallunki. Rickenbach had a two-out home run in the ninth to tie up the game and send it into extra innings. In the following inning, Kallunki was able to drive in the final run on a double to win the game for the Wolverines, 7-6.
In the next three games, the Wolverines were able to score 38 runs to the Sioux’s seven. In that stretch, Adam Gunn was able to throw a three-hit shutout, UVU scored 20 runs in one single game and Goose Kallunki had his third homerun of the week.
After going 10-1 at home, UVU made the trip down I-15 to Salt Lake to take on in-state rival University of Utah. Although UVU had scored 45 runs in the four games prior to playing Utah, they only needed four runs to take the victory as Jeremy Gendlek picked up his fifth victory of the season in shutout fashion, pitching six strong innings to hold off the Utes. Gendlek hopes this takes them where they want to be.
“I’m hoping we’re starting to make a name for ourselves,” Gendlek said.” We obviously think we can compete with these teams and I hope we can keep a good enough record to play in the NCAA playoffs.”
UVU returns home this week from a short road trip to host Texas-Pan American in a four-game set followed by another four-game set against NJIT.