NEW ORLEANS — Behind a solid performance on the mound from Rick Anton and consistent hitting throughout the lineup, the University of Utah baseball team opened a three-game series against Tulane with a 7-1 victory on Thursday evening.
"We played a complete ball game tonight," Utah head coach Bill Kinneberg said. "We pitched well, and we really swung the bats pretty good today. It was a good win for us."
The Utes scored early and slowly extended their lead as the game went on, scoring runs in six different innings. Utah took a 1-0 lead in the first inning off back-to-back doubles by C.J. Cron and Shaun Cooper and went up 2-0 with a run in the third on a sacrifice fly from Cooper, scoring James Brooks.
A two-run homer by Trey Nielsen started the fourth inning to give the Utes a 4-1 lead. Utah added solo runs in both the sixth and seventh innings. Cooper closed out the night with a solo home run to left field in the ninth for a 7-1 lead.
Josh Chapman entered the game in the seventh on the mound. Tulane looked to rally in the bottom of the ninth with two outs, as two batters walked and Blake Crohan singled to load the bases before Chapman got Frank Florio to ground out and end the game.
Anton pitched six innings and allowed one run on four hits, striking out seven. He raised his record to 5-1 on the year. Chapman earned his second save of the year. He allowed two hits and struck out two.
Cron, Cooper, Cody Guymon and Nielsen each had two hits for Utah. Cooper had a team-high three RBIs.
The Utes and Green Wave play Game 2 of the three-game series tonight.
NEW MEXICO 9, BYU 2: At Provo, the Cougars were held scoreless for eight innings on their way to losing to the Lobos in the opener of a three-game series.
New Mexico built a 9-0 lead by the fourth inning, and BYU didn't break through on the scoreboard until the bottom of the ninth. Alex Hancock singled for just BYU's third hit of the night, and Bret Lopez knocked a ball deep into center field, allowing Hancock to round the bases and record BYU's first run of the night. The Cougars came up with one more run to close it out.
"We faced a very crafty lefthander (Rudy Jaramillo)," said BYU coach Vance Law. "We pride ourselves as hitters who can adapt and we made no adjustments at all. We committed ourselves too early on someone who had control of his curve. It wasn't our night."
DIXIE STATE SWEEPS GRAND CANYON: At St. George, despite combining for 10 walks in the span of 132/3 innings, Dixie State College starters Mike Dedrick and James Mahler posted quality starts Thursday against Grand Canyon. Tyson Littlewood provided the offensive spark with two homers and five RBIs in the Red Storm's 6-2 and 5-2 victories in Pacific West Conference play at Bruce Hurst Field.
The wins cut DSC's magic number to clinch the PacWest to two and propelled the club to a 26-13 overall record, 21-9 in the PacWest.
Dedrick (4-3) tossed seven innings of two-run baseball in the series opener. Littlewood went 2-for-4 with a solo homer in Game 1. Chase Pittsenbarger had a pinch-hit RBI single to break a 2-2 stalemate in the seventh inning. Mike Stiles added to the lead with a two-run single.
In the nightcap, Mahler (6-3) survived five walks to carry a one-hitter into the seventh inning. He surrendered a two-run homer to Colin Courtland in the final frame, but earned the win after Daniel Zapata closed the game with two pitches.
Littlewood had a three-run blast off the scoreboard and a RBI single for four RBIs. Joe Andrade tallied the final RBI with a double.