UVU baseball: Austin Heaps' grand slam helps Wolverines to series win over Sacramento State

By Clint Burgi

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, March 24 2012 11:01 p.m. MDT

Austin Heaps (25) crossed home plate after his sixth-inning grand slam.

Kelly Linde/UVU Athletics

OREM — Austin Heaps hit a grand slam and tied a school record with six RBIs as Utah Valley University topped Sacramento State, 13-8, Saturday to win its second straight and take two of three from the Hornets.

For the second straight day a seven-run inning helped propel the Wolverines (9-11) to a win. Leading 3-2 after a two-run fifth pushed them in front, the Wolverines would plate seven runs in the bottom of the sixth to take a 10-2 advantage.

"To win a series against that club is outstanding. Sac State is a very good team," said UVU head coach Eric Madsen.

Kai Hatch led off the sixth with a home run to left center on the first pitch he saw in an inning where the shortstop would both homer and triple. Hatch went 3 for 4 and finished a double shy of the cycle. He walked in his final plate appearance.

Alex Exon and Willie Pratt followed Hatch in the sixth with consecutive singles before a sac fly by Jordy Hart plated Exon. Jake Rickenbach then singled home Pratt, Sean Moysh added another base hit and Billy Burgess was hit by a pitch before Heaps' grand slam to right center made it an eight-run lead for UVU. Hatch's triple came with two down and nobody on.

Sac State responded by scoring six times in the seventh, with Rhys Hoskins' bases-loaded, two-out double driving in three in the inning. Clay Cederquist drove home Hoskins with a double to cap the scoring for the Hornets (12-13) and make it a 10-8 game.

The Wolverines answered that with three more of their own — Heaps drove in his fifth and sixth runs with a bases-loaded single up the middle and Burgess scored on a wild pitch to tag R.J. Davis with the first runs allowed by the hard-throwing right-hander on the season.

"I think being able to regain momentum was the difference in the game, especially against their guy. I was really pleased to see our guys respond like that," Madsen said.

Adam Gunn improved to 2-3 with the win on the mound. Gunn, after allowing two first-inning runs, kept Sac State off the board in his final four innings of work. He struck out five and surrendered five hits in five innings.

Craig Brimhall and Josh Swenson threw the final 2 1/3 scoreless innings to finish off the series. It was the fourth straight UVU win that Swenson has finished on the mound. Brennan Leitao took his first loss and dropped to 2-1 after giving up nine runs (eight earned) on 12 hits in 5 1/3 innings.

Six different players had multi-hit days for Utah Valley on a 15-hit afternoon. Rickenbach and Hatch both had three hits, while Moysh, Heaps, Exon and Pratt had two hits each. Hart was without a hit but drove in two runs and scored twice.

For the Hornets, who were playing their 10th game in nine days, Hoskins and Cederquist were two of five players with two hits apiece.

The Wolverines continue their 11-game homestand next week by hosting Southern Utah in a three-game series starting Thursday. UVU swept three games from the T-Birds earlier this season in Cedar City.

Clint Burgi is the assistant athletic director for sports information at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit http://www.WolverineGreen.com

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