Baseball: GCU defeats UVU in 11 innings in walk-off fashion

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OREM — With two outs in the bottom of the 11th inning, Grand Canyon center fielder Thomas Lerouge singled into left field to score the game-winning run and give the Lopes a 2-1 victory over UVU at Brazell Stadium in Phoenix in the WAC opener for both teams on Thursday night.

UVU fell to 11-12 overall and 0-1 in the WAC. GCU improved to 12-10 overall and 1-0 in the WAC.

The game was a pitching duel as Patrick Wolfe of UVU and Cameron Brendel of GCU kept the opposing offenses at bay. Wolfe pitched 6.1 inning allowing one earned run on six hits while tying his career-high with eight strikeouts. Brendel was just as good as he pitched 8.0 innings and allowed no runs on five hits while striking out four. Brendel was in line to get the win but the GCU bullpen couldn’t close the game out in the ninth.

Zac Willis got things going for UVU in the top of the ninth inning when he singled to center. Justin Erlandson came on to pinch run and advanced to third when Mark Krueger picked up his second hit of the night, a double to center field. UVU had runners on second and third with one out and Erlandson scored when Ryne Edmondson hit a sacrifice fly to center. Krueger also advanced to third on the play but got stranded when catcher Jake Atkinson struck out looking to end the inning.

UVU had another chance to take the lead in the top of the 10th inning but Greyson Bogden lined out to the shortstop with a runner on third to end the threat.

Evan Fresquez came on to pitch for UVU in the 10th and made quick work of the GCU lineup despite giving up one hit.

GCU relief pitcher AJ Franks, who had come on in the 10th inning, struck out the side in the top of the 11th and GCU made quick work in the bottom half of the inning to earn the victory. Greg Saenz got on base with a one-out single and advanced to second when Griffin Barnes drew a two-out walk. Lerouge then picked up his second hit of the night to score Saenz for the walk-off win.

The two teams square off for the second game of a three-game series on Friday night with first pitch slated for 8 p.m. MT.