BASEBALL: Southern Utah scored four runs in the ninth inning to break a 6-6 tie, taking the opener of a three-game series, 10-7, over Utah Valley on Thursday night at Brent Brown Ballpark in Orem.
Chris Benson and Goose Kallunki drove in three runs apiece for the Wolverines (3-11) while Taylor Shaw had four RBIs, including a home run for the Thunderbirds (7-8).
The lead changed hands six times during the course of the game. After Shaw's solo home run in the second inning gave SUU an early lead, UVU scored three times in the third — two coming on a Benson base hit — to lead 3-1 after three innings.
Southern Utah tied it in the fourth before Benson gave Utah Valley the lead again with another RBI single in the bottom half of the inning. In the sixth, Shaw drove in his third and fourth runs of the game with a single, giving SUU a 5-4 lead.
In the seventh, Kallunki had a two-out, two-run double to left-center that scored Willie Pratt and Billy Burgess to put the Wolverines back in front, 6-5.
That lead was short-lived, though, with Mitchell Kauweloa singling home Marcus Romero in the eighth, tying it at 6-6. In the inning, the Wolverines escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam with a 6-4-3 double play to keep the game tied heading into the bottom of the eighth.
In the ninth, Bo Cuthbertson had a bases-loaded single to plate two T-Birds' runs and Kauweloa added another two-run single to give SUU a 10-6 advantage. Kauweloa had three hits and three RBIs and Cuthbertson also had three hits.
Benson reached on an infield single to start the ninth and scored on Kallunki's second double of the game for the final margin. In addition to Benson's three-hit day, Jason Zundel also had three hits for Utah Valley.
The series continues today at 6 p.m. MT, with Saturday's finale set for 1 p.m.
WOMEN'S GOLF: Utah Valley University senior Abbie Archibald fired a first-round 77 at the NIU Snowbird Intercollegiate tournament on Thursday at the par-72, 6,074-yard Pebble Creek Golf Club in Tampa, Fla., and sits in a tie for 10th place heading into today's final round.
Archibald, who shot 38-39—77, is just six shots out of the lead.
"Abbie was steady and very impressive," UVU women's golf coach Sue Nyhus said. "She has nothing more than a bogey all day."
Celeste Gish and Jordyn Dougal carded rounds of 80s and are in a tie for 19th, while Morgan Workman and Beverly Pike are tied for 29th and 48th, respectively.
As a team, the Wolverines are in fifth place (319) and just four shots behind fourth-place Southern Illinois (315) and six shots behind third-place Murray State.
"The whole team is at a place where at any given day they can shoot a 75, and once they do they will do it every time," Nyhus said. "We're working individually to get everyone to play their best golf. They are doing a lot of good things."
Saint Leo University leads the tournament after a first-round 301.
The final round tees off today at 6:30 a.m. MT.
WRESTLING: Utah Valley University senior Benjamin Kjar (125 pounds) became UVU's first-ever wrestler to advance to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships after he went 2-0 on Thursday, which included a 2-1 upset over former All-American and the fourth-seeded James Nicholson from Old Dominion in the tournament at Philadelphia.
Fellow UVU senior Flint Ray (133 pounds) is also still alive after he wrestled his way to a 1-1 record during the first day of the championships at Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center. Senior 141-pounder Justin Morrill ended his first tournament run with on 0-2 record on Thursday.
Today's quarterfinals will begin at 8:30 a.m. MT and will be broadcast live on ESPNU and ESPN3.com. Kjar will be matched up against the No. 5 seed from Minnesota Zachary Sanders, who is a two-time All-American. Kjar is now just one win shy of becoming UVU's first-ever All-American.
"We're really excited about Ben and both of his wins," UVU head coach Greg Williams said. "His first win over Bonanno from Hofstra got him going and his win over Nicholson of Old Dominion was great as he was the No. 4 seed and undefeated this season. If he wins tomorrow in the quarters, he'll become an All-American."
After a scoreless first period between Kjar and Nicholson Thursday evening, Nicholson picked up an escape point in the second to go up 1-0. Kjar then took the lead with a takedown late in the period. In the third period, Kjar held his ground and advanced to the quarters with the 2-1 win.
In Ray's second-round matchup with the No. 7 seed from Illinois, B.J. Futrell, Ray found himself on the wrong end of a 12-4 major decision. Ray stayed close with Futrell at the beginning as he was down just one at the end of one (2-1). In the second period, Futrell took command of the bout, as he pulled ahead on the scoreboard after a takedown and nearfall. Futrell then added to the score in the third.
In a must-win match for Morrill, Cornell's Hicks Manson took an early lead, but Morrill battled back and got within 4-3 late in the third period. With Morrill looking for a takedown, Mason managed to pick up the takedown instead and also held riding time to win the bout 7-3. The loss ended Morrill's senior campaign in which he finished with a 23-11 record.
"Flint picked up a big win in his first match, but in his second he really didn't look that sharp," Williams added. "He's got to be ready to go on Friday so that he can reach his goal."
Earlier in the day, Kjar defeated Hofstra's Steve Bonanno by decision 5-2 and Ray continued the hot start for the Wolverines as he pulled out a 7-5 upset over the No. 10 seed from Penn, Rollie Peterkin. Morrill dropped his first match to the two-time All-American and No. 4 seed Jimmy Kennedy from Illinois 9-3.
Day 2 of the NCAA Championships will begin this morning at 8:30 a.m. MT. Kjar's match in the quarterfinals will be televised live on ESPNU. The semifinals/session III will begin at 5 p.m. MT and will also be broadcast on ESPNU.