SALT LAKE CITY — Jeremy Gendlek pitched six innings of shutout baseball and Goose Kallunki hit his third home run in the last four games as Utah Valley defeated Utah, 4-1, at Spring Mobile Ballpark on Tuesday night. It was the 11th consecutive victory for the Wolverines.
"It was a well-pitched game. We made some good defensive plays and the guys made pitches when they had to," said UVU head baseball coach Eric Madsen. "We're playing good baseball right now. We still have some things we can improve on but the guys are playing with confidence and with the will to win."
UVU (18-11) broke the scoreless tie in the top half of the third inning when Jake Rickenbach laced a line drive in the gap in right center.
The Wolverines maintained their 1-0 lead heading into the top of the fourth, when Kallunki, whose big fly ball in the second inning just scooted to the wrong side of the left field foul pole, lined a ball over the wall in left center to make it 2-0. The blast was the sixth of the season for Kallunki.
Utah (8-23) had a chance to erase the deficit in the bottom of the fifth inning. With the first two batters already retired, the Utes strung together three consecutive singles by Gavin Green, Biss Larsen and Tyler Relf to load the bases. Gendlek escaped the jam unscathed, getting Connor Eppard to fly out to deep center field.
Still holding a 2-0 lead in the seventh inning, UVU's Alex Exon led off the inning with a walk, then took second on a sacrifice bunt from Willie Pratt. A single from Hart put runners at the corners, and after a fly out from Rickenbach, Sean Moysh singled through the left side to bring in Exon. Billy Burgess duplicated Moysh's effort in the next at-bat, plating Hart with a single of his own to put UVU up 4-0.
Taylor Mangum replaced Gendlek in the bottom half of the seventh after the first two Ute batters reached base. Mangum struck out the first batter he faced and induced a fly ball to right field for the second out, but walked the third batter he faced to load the bases. The sophomore right-hander escaped the jam by striking Eppard out to end the inning.
Shaun Cooper's solo home run in the ninth inning helped Utah avoid a shutout , but Josh Swenson retired the next three hitters to finish the game. Cooper went 2-for-4 at the plate for Utah, which stranded eight base runners in the game.
Gendlek (5-3) picked up the win for the Wolverines, scattering six Utah hits while recording four strikeouts, and has now won five straight decisions. The win for Gendlek moved his record to 3-0 against the Pac-12 Conference.2 comments on this story
Ben Mordini (0-4), one of five Utah pitchers to take the mound Tuesday, took the loss for the Utes.
Two Wolverines finished with multiple hits as Hart went 2-for-3 at the plate with two runs scored and a stolen base while Rickenbach went 2-for-5.
UVU will put its 11-game win streak on the line when it travels to Chicago for a four-game, Great West Conference set with Chicago State. Game one begins at noon MT on Friday.
The Utes continue in Pac-12 play this weekend at Washington State. The three-game series begins on Friday, April 13, at 6:30 p.m. MT.