OREM — Adam Gunn didn’t start well Thursday night, hitting Houston Baptist leadoff hitter with a pitch and giving up an RBI single to left field. The senior transfer’s night could have snowballed from there.
Instead, Gunn shrugged off the wild breaking ball and errant slider from the first inning, giving up just one hit and no runs over the next seven. The former Snow Canyon standout then saw his team put up five insurance runs in the eighth inning, a stretch that saw him go just stiff enough to yield a two-run home run in the ninth before earning the complete game, 10-3 win.
“After that (first inning), he just completely dominated, threw the baseball as good as I’ve seen him throw, I think,” UVU head coach Eric Madsen said. “He had all of his pitches going. I thought he pitched very well.”
The win, UVU’s fourth over its last five games, showed a marked increase in energy not only from Gunn, but the rest of the Wolverines in general both in the field and at the plate. Center fielder Jordy Hart stretched two bunts into singles. Left fielder Kade Andrus held an off-the-fence hit from HBU’s Bradley Brown to a single, fielding the ball fast enough to keep Brown from trying for second base.
Second baseman Willie Pratt made the defensive play of the night, diving to his right for a fast-moving grounder, rolling and throwing from a kneeling position to complete the throw-out to first.
“Today’s the best energy we’ve shown as a club, which was impressive to me,” Madsen said.
Equally impressive were UVU’s 10 runs on 14 hits, with eight of the 10 Wolverines who saw time at the plate coming up with at least one hit to show for it. Andrus wiped out the early deficit in the second with an RBI hit to left before UVU took the lead with three runs in the fourth and another in the fifth to take a 5-1 lead.
Andrus then started a five-run eighth inning with an RBI grounder that shot down the first-base line. Pinch hitter Beau Kallas extended the inning, driving in two runs with a grounder to left. Mark Krueger followed with an RBI single, and a fielder’s choice to first allowed the double-digit run to score.
By the time Stone Ramsey’s pop-up was fielded and the side retired, 23 minutes had passed in the bottom of the eighth – after the previous seven and a half innings took just two hours.
Gunn jokingly agreed that the Wolverines’ offensive outburst in the eighth inning made him just stiff enough to give up a two-run home run in the ninth before closing out his complete game victory.
“(My teammates) kept teasing me, man,” Gunn laughed. “We 10-run them, but whatever, it’s a nine-inning, complete game now.”
The Wolverines (4-1 Great West, 13-18 overall) continue their four-game home series against the Huskies with a Friday double-header before closing the series and the week with a 1:00 p.m. game on Saturday.
Matt Petersen is the Sports Web Editor for DeseretNews.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @TheMattPetersen.