OREM — UVU's Goose Kallunki had a four-hit night, including a walk-off double in the 10th inning, as Utah Valley survived, 7-6, over North Dakota in the Great West Conference-opener on Thursday night at Brent Brown Ballpark.
Austin Heaps singled with one out in the 10th before Kallunki doubled into the right-center gap to score pinch runner Willie Pratt from first for the game-winner.
The Wolverines (14-11) had a two-run lead in the ninth before a four-run inning from the Fighting Sioux (2-17) flipped the game in UND’s favor.
North Dakota was then a strike away from grabbing the win when UVU's Jake Rickenbach atoned for a ninth-inning error with a two-run home run on a 3-2 pitch that kept UVU alive, tying the game at 6-6.
“Those two seniors know what it takes to win and they take a lot of pride in it. What a great job of stepping up when it mattered,” said UVU head coach Eric Madsen of Kallunki and Rickenbach. “Jake is a competitor and was devastated after that error and really came through and Goose has been swinging the bat really well for us.”
Fighting Sioux starter Andrew Thome, who was aided by double plays in each of the first four innings, nearly pitched his second-straight complete game before the Rickenbach home run. Thome threw 8 2/3 innings and gave up six runs — just two of which were earned — on 11 hits with three strikeouts.
UVU starter Preston Olson did not factor into the decision. He tossed five-plus scoreless innings. Ryan Chadwick pitched a 1-2-3 10th to pick up the win for Utah Valley while Brock Johnson took the loss for UND.
Three straight singles with one out in the fourth got the Wolverines on the board first. Kallunki's base hit into center scored Billy Burgess to make it 1-0. Burgess then hit a solo home run in the sixth — his second of the season — to give UVU a 2-0 lead.
Sam Alt tied the game in the game in the seventh with a two-run, opposite-field home run to left as part of a three-hit, three-RBI night.Comment on this story
The Wolverines got a pair of runs in the eighth to regain the lead, taking advantage of a throwing error that allowed Jordy Hart to score from second on a sacrifice from Sean Moysh. Moysh later scored in the inning on a base hit by Heaps to make it 4-2.
In addition to Kallunki’s four hits, Heaps had three while Burgess and Hart had two apiece. Alt’s three-hit night lead North Dakota and Zach Trygstad and Jeff Campbell both finished with a pair of hits.
The series continues on Friday with a scheduled doubleheader starting at 4 p.m. MT.
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