ST. GEORGE — It was a day of impressive pitching in the 2A state baseball tournament Thursday at Dixie State College.
The Gunnison Bulldogs advanced to the state semifinals with a 7-2 win over San Juan, with Ty Bartholomew shutting down a powerful San Juan offensive attack. He allowed just three hits and two runs, while striking out seven Broncos, a team that came into the game averaging 9.1 runs per game.
"I just wanted to get ahead of batters and keep them off-balance," said Bartholomew, who allowed just four walks in the complete game. "They have good hitters. It's tough to come back against a team like that when you get behind on the count."
The game looked like it might be a shootout early on. Gunnison scored a run in the first off a sacrifice fly by Tyler Harris that plated Rylan Anderson.
San Juan countered with two runs in the top of the second inning behind an RBI fielder's choice by Mason Shumway and a throwing error on the Bulldogs. But Bartholomew wriggled out of the inning and the Gunnison defense would not make another error in the game.
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs grabbed the lead back in the fourth inning. Colby Caldwell singled, but was only over at second base as the next two batters were retired. That's when Chase Christensen doubled down the right field line to tie the game.
Anderson followed with an RBI single to give Gunnison the 3-2 lead.
With Bartholomew cruising (to his 11th win), the Bulldogs wouldn't need any more runs. Nevertheless, the offense put the game away with a rally in the bottom of the sixth.
Anderson, Harris, Kaz Mogle and Brenon Jenson all scored, chasing San Juan starter Logan Meyer. The Broncos also committed four errors in the game.
Bartholomew also helped himself at the plate, notching a pair of singles and knocking home a run.
In the early game, Emery and Millard staged an epic winner's bracket contest with the Spartans grabbing a semifinal spot with a 6-2 nine-inning victory.
Both starting pitchers were solid, pitching scoreless baseball for six innings. Emery finally broke through in the top of the seventh off of Millard's Dakota Bullock as Keiden Feichko and Colton Collard scored to make it 2-0.
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Bullock managed to retire the side, then watched teammates T.J. Stevens and Brenden Turner score to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh.
After a scoreless eighth inning, Emery struck for four runs in the ninth to put the game away, finally chasing Bullock off the mound. Brandon Oliver got the win for Emery, pitching all nine innings.
Gunnison and Emery will meet in the state semifinals Friday at 4:30 p.m. at Dixie State's Bruce Hurst Field. The winner will earn a berth in Saturday's state title game at 11 a.m.