Baseball: UVU scores five in the fourth inning to even series with Portland

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OREM, Utah—Patrick Wolfe got the start and the win for the Wolverines Friday as UVU evened the series with Portland 1-1 with a 6-4 victory. UVU scored five runs in a strong fourth inning and avoided a couple of sticky situations to get the win.

Portland got their first hit of the night in the top of the second with a Cooper Hummel single to left center, but UVU turned the double play to end the inning. The Wolverines responded in the bottom frame with a Spencer Gothberg single but Gothberg was caught stealing second and the next two batters struck out to end the inning.

The Wolverines drew first blood in the bottom of the fourth. Zac Willis reached base on a Pilot throwing error and Gothberg got an RBI double two batters later. Next up, Craig Brinkerhoff singled and advanced to second on the throw. Paul Estrada hit an RBI single and then advanced to second on a wild pitch. Ryne Edmondson grounded out to first but brought Brinkerhof home. Trevor Howell hit an RBI double and then Stone Ramsey reached base on a fielding error that brought Howell home for the fifth run of the inning. Greyson Bogden doubled on the next at-bat but Ramsey was caught going home, which brought the inning to a close.

“We found a way to win, obviously it wasn’t the cleanest game,” said head coach Eric Madsen. “I think that’s good if you can find a way to play like that and still come out with the win.”

The big fourth inning marred an otherwise solid start for Pilot pitcher Davis Tominaga, who pitched 5.0 innings with four strikeouts, one batter walked, nine hits and two earned runs.

The Pilots responded in the top of the fifth inning. Dan Whittaker pinch hit for Matt Kelly and walked. Michael Forgione doubled through the left side and Geoffrey Lee brought them both home with a two-run double. Two batters later Caleb Whalen hit an RBI double but was left on base at the close of the inning as Portland closed the gap to 5-3. An Estrada RBI single in the bottom frame of the inning gave the Wolverines their last run of the day.

Three pitchers from the Pilot bullpen combined to finish the game. Marty Luckenbach pitched two innings to the tune of three strikeouts, two batters walked, one hit and no earned runs. Cole Doherty faced only one batter who grounded out to third. Cameron Richman faced the final three batters for the Pilots.

Four different pitchers played for UVU. Evan Fresquez replaced Wolfe on the mound to start the sixth inning and gave up the final earned Pilot run for the day in the top of the eighth. A Brian Pozos RBI single brought in the final run. Fresquez pitched 2.1 innings, struck out two batters, gave up two hits and one earned run. Greg McCuch pitched 1.1 innings, struck out one, walked two and gave up one hit with no earned runs. Marco Briones picked up the save for the Wolverines as he faced the last batter on the day, who popped out to second leaving Portland’s tying runs on base.

Wolfe was the winning pitcher on the day, pitching 5.0 innings with three strikeouts, three batters walked, four hits and three earned runs.

“We struck out too many times in big situations,” said Madsen. “But we had some really big two-out hits, which is all you can ask from guys when it’s going tough.”

The weekend series will continue for the Wolverines against Portland Saturday at Brent Brown Ballpark. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.