Wolverines defeat UC Riverside 6-2, finish series against Highlanders 3-1

Reading Time: 3 minutes Following a 6-2 victory over the UC Riverside Highlanders, the Wolverines start their season 5-3; their best start to a season in the program’s archived history.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Utah Valley University men’s baseball team (5-3) defeated the University of California – Riverside Highlanders (2-5) 6-2 in this season’s series finale on Sunday at the Riverside Sports Complex in Riverside, California.

With the win, UVU won the overall series with a 3-1 record. However, that’s not the only feat that comes with this win, the Wolverines also boast their best start to a season in the program’s archived history with a 5-3 record. 

After the Highlanders jumped out to a 1-0 lead, the Wolverines responded by scoring six unanswered runs consecutively in the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth innings to go up 6-1. 

UC Riverside was able to stop the drought by scoring in the seventh inning to cut the deficit to 6-2; however, the Wolverines were able to escape further trouble and win 6-2 in the seven-inning game.

The Wolverines’ bats were blazing as they had a .333 hitting percentage, nine hits (including two extra-base hits), and four runners batted in. The Wolverines also had three batters that were walked and only struck out six times.

Patrick Mills led the way for UVU, going 2-4 in his at-bats while adding two RBIs and one run scored. Trey Cutchen also had two hits for the Wolverines and was walked once. 

Five other Wolverines were also able to clock a hit.

Pitcher Jayse Burkett started for the Wolverines, pitching the first four innings. Burkett allowed one unearned run and five hits while forcing two strikeouts, four flyouts, and five groundouts. 

Davis Spencer (1-0), who picked up the win for the Wolverines, pitched the fifth inning. Spencer, through three at-bats, only allowed one hit while striking out a Highlander and forcing a groundout — all in seven pitches total. 

Devin Smith and Austin Watson, respectively, closed out the game for the Wolverines by pitching one inning each. Smith only allowed one hit through four at-bats while Watson allowed two hits and one earned run. Both of them also registered a strikeout as well. 

The Highlanders struck first in the game as they put runners on the corners of the diamond in the bottom of the second inning with only one out. Jacob Badawi then blasted a looper out to center field to score Dominic Martinez and give the Highlanders an early 1-0 lead.

The Wolverines wasted no time in responding in the top of the third inning. Daniel Dickinson, Cole Jordan, and Cutchen consecutively singled to load up the bases with no outs. Calyn Halvorson followed by grounding into a double play that scored Dickinson, evening the score 1-1, and advanced Jordan to third base despite Cutchen and himself getting gunned down by the Highlanders. 

Mills kept the scoring going as he hammered an RBI single to left center field to score Jordan and give the Wolverines a 2-1 lead.

The Highlanders tried to answer in the bottom frame, loading up the bases with two outs, but Spencer forced a groundout to escape the jam.

Schwartz was able to reach second base in the top of the fourth inning after getting walked and stealing second, allowing Garrett Broussard to bring him home with an infield single to extend UVU’s lead to 3-1.

The Wolverines began the top of the fifth inning with yet another runner in scoring position in Halvorson which allowed Mills to bring him home with a long RBI double to right center field to give UVU a 4-1 advantage. A few at-bats later, Schwartz brought Mills home with another RBI double down the infield line, creating a comfortable 5-1 edge for the Wolverines. 

UVU had an unconventional inning at the top of the sixth inning. Dickinson was able to reach base after getting hit by a pitch. He was then able to advance to second base after a wild pitch. Jordan followed with a sacrifice groundout to get Dickinson to third base. 

Cutchen was walked in the following at-bat and then allowed Dickinson to score when he was caught trying to steal second base, giving the Wolverines a one-score inning without a single hit to put them up 6-1.

The Highlanders were able to score in the bottom of the seventh inning after Anthony Mcfarland crushed an RBI double to center field to score Sean McLeod and cut the deficit down to 6-2. However, Watson was able to force a groundout and then close the game out on a strikeout to seal the victory for the Wolverines. 

The win also evens the all-time series between UVU and UC Riverside 3-3 after the Highlanders led 2-0 heading into this season.

The Wolverines next return home to Orem, Utah to take on the Brigham Young University Cougars (2-6) in their home opener at the UCCU Ballpark in another rendition of the UCCU Crosstown Clash. The game can be streamed on WAC International TV.