OLD WESTBURY, N.Y. — Preston Olson dealt a two-hit shutout and set a new school record with 16 strikeouts to lead Utah Valley University to a 10-0 win and a doubleheader sweep on Saturday at NYIT, extending the nation’s longest winning streak to 31 games.
Olson’s dominating performance in the second game of the twin bill came after the Wolverines (38-11, 23-0 GWC) nearly saw the streak end in game one. In the seven-inning opener, UVU scored twice in the top of the seventh to pick up a come-from-behind win, 4-3.
"Preston was totally dominant, and for him get that record is great because he pitched it so well. It was awesome to see," said UVU head coach Eric Madsen. "In the first game, I was pleased to see us come back and rally after things weren't going our way early."
Goose Kallunki, who was out of the lineup battling back spasms, delivered a pinch-hit, game-tying single in the seventh and came in to score the winning run on a double by Jake Rickenbach. The Bears had the tying run at third with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, but Taylor Mangum struck out Sebastian Grazziani to end it.
NYIT did all of its scoring on a three-run home run from Michael Fermin in the first inning and nearly rode that to the upset win.
Willie Pratt’s two-out double in the second brought home two runs before the Wolverines found themselves down a run entering the final frame. Taylor Berg got the inning started with an infield single and moved to second on a throwing error. Cole Butcher then pinch-ran for Berg and scored on Kallunki’s single.
Berg and Rickenbach both had two hits for UVU, while Mangum picked up the win and moved to 4-0 after throwing two scoreless frames.
In game two, three different players homered for Utah Valley behind the gem from Olson. Alex Exon hit a two-run shot in the second inning before Sean Moysh’s solo homer and a two-run blast from Austin Heaps anchored a five-run third.
Olson was perfect into the fifth inning before a one-out double by Grazziani became the first hit and baserunner of the game for the Bears.
UVU tacked on two more runs in the sixth to lead 9-0 before Heaps doubled home Moysh in the eighth to push the lead to 10-0.
Olson worked through a leadoff walk and an infield single in the eighth, striking out the side to end the game in eight via the 10-run rule. The shutout is the team’s second of the series and seventh of the season. It’s also the second time an individual UVU starter has shut out an opposing team this season.
“By the third inning, I could tell that it just felt right. I was able to throw everything for strikes,” Olson said on the postgame show. “You think of a 31-game win streak and it’s unbelievable. Anything can happen in baseball. We’ve had to win one-run games; we’ve had to come from behind. When we need someone to come through, we believe and have confidence in each other to get it done.”
The series concludes on Sunday with a 10 a.m. first pitch. The game can be heard live on 960 AM the Zone and on WolverineGreen.com. Following Sunday’s game, the Wolverines return home to host Utah on Tuesday at 6 p.m.
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