OREM — Jeremy Gendlek threw seven strong innings and Goose Kallunki homered as Utah Valley University upset No. 4-ranked Arizona in a thrilling 5-4 win in front 2,014 fans at Brent Brown Ballpark on Tuesday night.
The win comes against the highest-ranked opponent the Wolverines (13-11) have faced in the program's NCAA Division I era. It was also UVU's first home game ever against a ranked school and runs the current winning streak to six games.
"You've got to win games like this in order to showcase on the national level what we feel we have in our program. I'm just so proud of the guys and so happy for them," said head coach Eric Madsen.
Kallunki's home run — his third of the year — came in the second inning on a towering shot to left and gave UVU a 1-0 lead.
Gendlek, meanwhile, took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and had retired 11 straight before a walk and two bunt singles loaded the bases with nobody out. A sacrifice fly from Joey Rickard tied the game at one but Gendlek escaped without any further damage.
"Jeremy was outstanding. He held a club that's hitting .327 as a team at bay, so you just can't say enough about the performance," Madsen said.
Kallunki then delivered again in the sixth with a two-out single into center field that scored Jake Rickenbach and gave Utah Valley a 2-1 edge.
The Wolverines added three more two-out runs in the seventh to make it 5-1. Sean Moysh's base hit into center scored Alex Exon and Cole Butcher to give UVU a 4-1 lead. Moysh then moved to second on a wild pitch and to third on a balk before Billy Burgess beat out an infield hit on a close play in what turned out to be the deciding run.
The Wildcats (21-8), who entered the game with five straight wins — two over then-No. 19 Oregon State and three over then-No. 2 Stanford — made it interesting late. Robert Refsnyder hit a three-run home run on a sky-high fly ball to left that just got out of the park to make it 5-4 in the eighth.
Josh Swenson entered in the ninth for Utah Valley and after giving up a leadoff walk retired the next three hitters, ending it on a called strike three to Johnny Field. The save is Swenson's third of the season.
Gendlek improved to 4-3 after allowing two runs on four hits in 7.0 innings. Three of the four hits Gendlek surrendered were bunt singles. Tyler Crawford gave up two runs on just three hits in 5.2 innings but took the loss for the Pac-12 Wildcats.
The win is Utah Valley's fourth all-time against a ranked opponent and second in a row this season. The Wolverines defeated No. 11 Arizona State on March 14 in Tempe, 9-6. Gendlek was also the winning pitcher in that game.
"Beating Arizona State was big, but to beat No. 4 in your own park is just a huge accomplishment. For Jeremy to beat two ranked teams in one season as a starting pitcher is unbelievable," Madsen said.
UVU now begins defense of its Great West Conference championship with a four-game series starting Thursday at 6 p.m. against North Dakota. The Wolverines, winners of the first two GWC titles, have a combined 48-4 record in two seasons in the Great West.
BYU OPENS SERIES AGAINST LOYOLA MARYMOUNT THURSDAY: Game time has changed to noon for Saturday's BYU-Loyola Marymount series, but Thursday and Friday night's contests remain at 6 p.m.
The three-game series is the debut for West Coast Conference baseball action in Provo. BYU (12-11 overall and 4-2 WCC) hosts league-leading LMU (12-12, 3-0).
Due to tight travel plans game time was moved up one hour for Saturday. The Lions were picked to finish fourth in the WCC pre-season poll, while BYU balloted seventh.
"I've always said pre-season rankings don't mean a lot, so I'm not surprised Loyola is playing well," BYU coach Vance Law said. "We've got our work cut out for us. Anybody can beat anybody on a given day in college baseball.
"We look forward to playing at home. We feel at home in our home where we are comfortable. I anticipate we will play well."
Chris Capper (1-4, 3.10), Mark Anderson (4-1, 3.48) and Desmond Poulson (0-2, 4.44) willstart for the Cougars against LMU.
No. 15 HAWAII 6, UTAH VALLEY 1: At Orem, UVU hung around with No. 15 Hawaii Wednesday evening at Wolverine Field but in the end the Rainbow Wahine (31-3) pulled out the contest, 6-1.
"That's (Hawaii) a good ballclub but I don't feel like we got overwhelmed," UVU head coach Todd Fairbourne said. "The kids made some adjustments today and put some balls in play. This tells me that we can be pretty good if the girls will just play with confidence and do what they are capable of doing."
UH struck first with a run in the top of the first inning but the Wolverines (20-12-1) countered in the bottom half of the frame with a run of their own to tie the game at one. Marie Williams started the rally with a one-out walk. Williams then stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Deianna Russell then drove her home with a two-out single to tie the contest.
Hawaii took advantaged of a couple of walks an inning later and scored another run to pull ahead at 2-1.
The Wolverines then threatened in the bottom of the third as Kylee Brinkerhoff started it off with a leadoff single. The rally was cut short however as moments later the Rainbow Wahine catcher Kayla Wartner cut her down as she attempted to steal second base.
UH pushed across two more runs in the fourth to extend its lead to 4-1, as it capitalized on a leadoff walk in the frame.
Later, Hawaii managed to score two more late insurance runs to pull out the contest 6-1.
Tiffany Mills started for UVU and pitched 6 2/3 of seven hit ball but suffered the loss (10-8) as she issued 11 walks in the contest. Mills did strand 12 Rainbow Wahine base runners however. UH's Kaia Parnaby, one of the premier pitchers in the nation, picked up the win (12-1) as she gave up just three hits and struck out 10 batters.
Russell, Brinkerhoff and Jamie North picked up the three hits for UVU in the contest, while Hawai'i was led by Wartner's 2-for-2 performance.
The Wolverines will continue their 12-game homestand by returning to conference play to host PCSC foe Northern Colorado for a four-game series this weekend. UVU and UNC will play a pair of doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday with action beginning at 12 p.m. each day.