OREM, Utah — Utah Valley University jumped out to an early lead, but Houston Baptist University came back to earn a split of the four-game Great West Conference series with a 4-3 win in Saturday’s finale at Brent Brown Ballpark.
It’s the first-ever GWC series the Wolverines have not won outright, going 21-0 over the last three-plus seasons in league series.
Houston Baptist starter Ross Kennell pitched a complete game to move to 4-2 on the year. Kennell allowed two earn runs (three total) on eight hits and didn’t allow a run to score over the final six innings. Brian Whatcott (0-1) took the loss after allowing two runs in three innings of relief.
After loading the bases with nobody out in the second, the Wolverines (14-20, 5-3) jumped in front with a pair of runs. After a double-play ball scored one run, Willie Pratt singled home Colby Croft to make it 2-0.
Kai Hatch made it 3-0 in the third with a two-out single to bring him Kade Andrus from third. Andrus singled with two outs and then moved to third on an errant throw by Kennell on a pickoff attempt at first.
Houston Baptist (15-16-1, 5-3) came back to tie it in the fourth with three runs after loading the bases with no outs. Samm Wiggins singled home two runs with a base hit to right to plate the first two. Curtis Jones bunted home another run to knot it at 3-3.
CJ Jarvis gave the Huskies the lead in the sixth with a two-out double to left that scored Jones from third. Jarvis' RBI hit turned out to be the game-winner.
Kennell allowed runners to reach in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings, but pitched a clean 1-2-3 ninth to clinch the series split for HBU.
Mark Krueger had a three-hit day to lead Utah Valley with Willie Pratt adding two hits and an RBI.
The Wolverines host Utah on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the final of two meetings between the in-state foes this season. UVU will travel to North Dakota for a schedule four-game Great West series starting Friday, April 19, in Grand Forks.
Clint Burgi is the assistant athletic director for sports information at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.
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