With two outs in the top of the ninth, 2,014 strong stood up as UVU was on the brink of pulling a huge upset against the No. 4 team in the nation, Arizona. It was not easy to get to that point.
Goose Kallunki started the scoring in the game with a solo homerun in the bottom of the second. It was his third in the season and 20th RBI. Arizona gets one back in the top of the sixth inning but it by the bottom of the same inning, UVU was up by one again with Billy Burgess’ RBI double.
Jeremy Gendlek was the story on the mound as he went seven very strong innings, only giving up two runs and four hits. Head coach Eric Madsen couldn’t say enough about the performance.
“It was outstanding,” Madsen said. “For a guy to beat two ranked teams in one season as a starting pitcher is unbelievable. He pitched the same here as he did down in Arizona State. Awesome to see that happen for him. He held a club that’s hitting .327 at bay.”
The Wolverines scratched across three more runs in the bottom of the seventh to make the score 5-1 going into the eighth inning. After allowing the first batter to get on base, Jeremy Glendlek was relieved and received a standing ovation from the home crowd for his effort. Arizona went on to tack on three runs in that inning from a high home run by their cleanup hitter, Robert Refsnyder. Arizona at that point was only down 5-4 going into the ninth.
With the Wolverines up by one, closer Josh Swenson came onto the mound to end the game. The first batter got on base with a walk. Swenson answered back with a huge strikeout that erupted the crowd into a burst of cheers. The second batter popped out into straightaway center as the crowd got on their feet.
“He was more composed than maybe us in the dugout,” Coach Madsen said about his closer, Josh Swenson. “He wants to make it exciting. That’s what closers do.”
With many UVU fans on their feet, Swenson struck out the final batter to end the game as UVU players came running out of the dugout to congratulate their closer for his third save of the season. With this victory, the Wolverines have won six in a row to make their overall record 13-11 and their home record 6-1.
“I think this is the greatest victory they’ve had this year,” Coach Madsen said. “You beat Arizona State and that’s a big deal but beating the No. 4 team in your own park; that means the world to them.”
Utah Valley will try to continue on their hot streak when they welcome conference rivals, North Dakota in a four-game set starting today.