Utah Valley University won both ends of a doubleheader, 8-2 and 9-4, to pick up a key Western Athletic Conference series win over Seattle University in the final home games of the year on Saturday at Brent Brown Ballpark. With wins in both games, UVU has clinched a spot in the WAC Tournament, which begins May 21 in Mesa, Arizona.
The Wolverines (24-25, 15-9) scored six times in the bottom of the eighth of game one to break a 2-2 tie and pick up the win. In game two, after the Redhawks (23-23, 11-10) scored three times in the top of the first, UVU put five on the board in the bottom of the inning en route to the twinbill sweep.
“This was a big series win against a very good team. To come out and compete and grind out two wins today was great to see,” head coach Eric Madsen said. “We were able to score throughout the lineup and that’s something we haven’t done a lot of.”
In game one, Utah Valley scored twice in the fourth to take a 2-0 lead. With one out, Mark Krueger singled and Riley White doubled past third before Brinkerhoff followed with another double to drive both runners home.
Seattle tied it in the fifth when Chase Fields singled with runners at second and third. Sam Finfer scored from third, but Andrus, who had two outfield assists in the game, gunned down Colin Peterson trying to score on the play. Michael McCann had an RBI on a fielder’s choice later in the inning to tie the game at 2-2.
The score remained 2-2 until the eighth, when the Wolverines sent 10 hitters to the plate and scored six times on five singles. Seth Rhineer and Brinkerhoff each had two-run singles in the inning, while White and Greyson Bogden also drove in runs.
Ryan Evans pitched eight innings and allowed just one earned run on five hits and struck out a pair of hitters. Evans improved to 4-5 in his final home start, while Will Dennis took the loss after surrendering seven runs on seven hits in 7.2 innings. Finfer went 3-for-4 in the game to lead Seattle at the plate.
In the series finale, the Redhawks jumped out to the quick 3-0 lead behind three straight one-out hits. McCann doubled, Landon Cray tripled him home and Brian Olson doubled into the corner in left to score Cray. Finfer then had a base hit to left to cap off a 12-pitch at-bat, driving home Olson and giving the Redhawks a 3-0 lead.
Andrus and Bogden had back-to-back singles to open the bottom of the inning and both came home on a base hit by Krueger. White followed with a base hit before Brinkerhoff singled to drive in Krueger, tying the game at three. On the hit, White went from first to third and the throw attempting to get Brinkerhoff moving up to second got away, allowing White to score to give UVU a 4-3 lead.
After Brinkerhoff moved to second on a passed ball, Colby Croft drove him in on an RBI groundout to short.
Andrus’ home run came in the fourth and with Beau Kallas and Zach Slesk on base. Kallas doubled for the second time in the game to lead off the inning, and Slesk reached on an error preceding the home run.
Leading 8-4 after Seattle added a run in the fifth, Croft, Kallas and Slesk hit consecutive singles in the seventh with Croft coming in on Slesk’s base hit to left.
Andrew Freter (5-6) won his third straight decision after throwing 5.2 innings and allowing three earned runs on nine hits. Andrew Olson lasted just one-third of an inning to start the game and took the loss after surrendering five runs on five hits.
In addition to both senior starters picking up wins for UVU, Tory Ulibarri pitched 1.1 scoreless innings for the Wolverines and now hasn’t allowed a run in his last seven appearances. Seven Utah Valley seniors were recognized between the games: Croft, Evans, Freter, Moysh, Devin Nelson, Ulibarri and White.
Utah Valley plays its final non-conference game of the year on Tuesday at Nevada of the Mountain West Conference. The Wolverines wrap up the WAC regular season with three games at second-place Grand Canyon beginning Friday in Phoenix.
Clint Burgi is the assistant athletic director for sports information at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.