OREM — Goose Kallunki set a new single-season home run mark and Jeremy Gendlek tied two school records as Utah Valley University notched a 5-3 win over the University of Northern Colorado on Thursday to open a four-game Great West Conference series.
The win gives the Wolverines (40-12, 25-0 GWC) their second 40-win season in the last three years.
Kallunki hit his 16th home run of the year, a solo shot, in the fifth inning to extend UVU's lead to 5-0. The senior was 2 for 4 with two batted in as he upped his nation-leading RBI total to 78. Kallunki also has 215 career RBIs, one shy of the school record.
"It can be tough to come back after a loss, but our guys did a good job. When they came out at the beginning of the game they were zoned in and ready to go," said UVU head coach Eric Madsen. "What Goose has done doesn't surprise me at all. He was frustrated early on in the year trying to create power, but when he allowed himself to become the type of player that he is, he's blown up."
Gendlek pitched 7.2 innings, allowing three runs on seven hits while striking out seven to improve to 10-3. Gendlek's 10th win of the season ties a UVU record and is also the 17th of his career, matching three others for the highest career win total.
Kallunki had a first-inning double that plated Jake Rickenbach for the first run of the game. UVU added three more in the second; one on a double steal that scored Willie Pratt and on RBI base hits from Cole Butcher and Sean Moysh.
The Bears (25-28, 15-10 GWC) got on the board with one run in the sixth and later got a two-run home run in the eighth from Adam Hilker to trim the UVU lead to 5-3.1 comment on this story
UVU's Jeff Barto came on in relief and ended the eighth with a strikeout of Adrian Schenk before Josh Swenson pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to pick up his sixth save of the season and up his school-record total to 12.
The Wolverines finished with 14 hits, with five players collecting two hits apiece. Hilker, who has been on base in all 52 games this season and sports an 18-game hit streak, led Northern Colorado with two hits.
The series continues with a doubleheader scheduled for Friday beginning 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 WolverineGreen.com.