OREM — Jake Rickenbach matched an NCAA record for consecutive times on base, reaching 18 times in a row as Utah Valley University recorded a doubleheader sweep of NJIT, 6-3 and 12-2, on Friday at Brent Brown Ballpark.
With the win, the Wolverines (29-11, 15-0 GWC) extended their nation-leading win streak to 22 games and Rickenbach also had his hit streak reach 23, one shy of matching the school record.
Rickenbach went 2-for-2 with a pair of walks in the first game and walked his first two times at the plate in the second before flying out to end the streak, which was set by Shaun Larkin of Cal State Northridge in 2002. During the run, the third baseman went 6-for-6 with 11 walks and one hit-by-pitch. The streak dated from April 20 to April 27 and took place over the course of four games.
"That streak is incredible," said UVU head coach Eric Madsen. "Every time he comes to the plate he's so disciplined. He's a great player, he's been clutch, he understands the game, and what he's done has been unbelievable."
Goose Kallunki homered in both games and now has 12 on the year. He had a three-run shot in the first inning of the second game and upped his RBI total to 59, which is expected to lead the nation after Friday night's slate of games is completed.
In the first game, UVU trailed 3-2 in the fifth before taking advantage of a throwing error that turned a potential inning-ending double play into two runs, allowing the Wolverines to regain the lead.
That same inning, Billy Burgess scored on a balk to give Utah Valley a 5-3 lead before Kallunki lined a ball over the wall in left for his 11th of the year.
Preston Olson threw five innings and got the win to improve to 5-0 on the year while Taylor Mangum pitched two scoreless innings to earn the save. DJ Roche took the loss for the Highlanders (17-18, 9-6 GWC). NJIT got two hits from Andrew Benjamin and two RBIs from Mike Rampone.
In game two, Kallunki's three-run homer in the first gave UVU a 3-0 lead and made it seven straight games the Wolverines have scored in the first inning. Utah Valley tacked on four more in the second, two coming on a base hit from Burgess and another on a Kallunki single, to take a 7-0 lead.
The Wolverines led 10-2 in the eighth when Kai Hatch RBI groundball brought home Sean Moysh before Willie Pratt walked with the bases loaded, ending the game in eight innings via the 10-run rule.
Jeremy Gendlek allowed one run on five hits to earn his eighth win of the year while Tripp Davis took the loss for NJIT. Along with Kallunki's three-hit night, Austin Heaps also had three hits with Burgess and Hatch each adding two more to go along with two RBIs apiece.
"I thought our guys stayed with it in the first game and we got a huge break that allowed us to score some runs," Madsen said. "In the second game the guys did such a good job coming out strong at the beginning. Jeremy controlled the tempo of the game right from the start and Goose has really taken off for. He's a special player and it's great to see him do what he's doing."
The series will conclude on Saturday with an 11 a.m. MT first pitch.
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