Utah Valley University used its biggest run-scoring inning since the 2012 season, plating nine runs in the top of the seventh, to come from behind and beat Grand Canyon University, 9-7, on Saturday night at Brazell Stadium.
The Wolverines (25-27, 16-10) sent 15 hitters to the plate in the inning and scored the nine runs on seven hits and five walks. It’s the most UVU has scored since April 6, 2012, when scoring nine runs in the third inning of a 20-4 win over North Dakota.
“Unbelievable,” head coach Eric Madsen said. “We got after it and it kept coming. We took advantage of the walks and our bullpen came out and got some quality outs after that inning. It was really a good team win."
The victory also keeps Utah Valley’s bid for the No. 2 seed and a bye in the opening round of next week’s WAC Tournament alive. UVU needs Northern Colorado to defeat Texas-Pan American while defeating Grand Canyon again Sunday, or it will enter the tournament as the three seed.
With GCU ahead 2-0 in the fifth, Chad De La Guerra hit a three-run home run for the Antelopes (29-21, 18-8) to make it a 5-0 game. Then, after Matt Haggerty singled home two more in the sixth, Grand Canyon led 7-0 and the outcome seemed in hand.
In the Wolverines’ half of the seventh though, Beau Kallas led off with a single before Zach Slesk and Kade Andrus walked to load the bases. Greyson Bogden grounded into a fielder’s choice to drive in the first run and get UVU on the board.
From there the next nine Wolverines reached base. Sean Moysh doubled home two runs to begin a streak of six straight hits for UVU. Mark Krueger singled, Riley White and Craig Brinkerhoff got consecutive RBI base hits, and Colby Croft doubled to drive in two runs and tie the game at 7-7.
The next three Wolverines each walked, with a bases loaded walk issued to Andrus scoring Croft to drive in the go-ahead run. Bogden capped the inning with an RBI single back through the middle.
Kyle Valgardson (2-2), who got the final two outs in the sixth, was credited with the win and was the first of five straight UVU relievers to not allow a run. Chad Michaud got his fourth save after pitching around a base hit and a walk in the ninth inning, getting pinch hitter Garrett Jeffries grounded out to Bogden at second to end the game.
Malcolm Purdy was tagged for six runs in one-third of an inning in taking the loss and dropping to 5-5. Each team used seven pitchers in the game with Grand Canyon issuing a total of 12 walks to Utah Valley in the contest. Slesk walked four times in the game and had a sacrifice in his first plate appearance, going without an offiicial at-bat.
The rubber match is Sunday at 12:30 p.m. PT and is Senior Day for the ‘Lopes.
Clint Burgi is the assistant athletic director for sports information at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.