RENO, Nev. – Utah Valley University rallied late with four runs and had the tying run in scoring position in the ninth but fell short, 6-4, in the series opener at the University of Nevada on Friday.
The Wolverines (1-4) were stifled early by Wolfpack starter Brady Shipley, who struck out nine on just three hits in 6.0 innings and hasn't allowed a run in his first two starts of the season.
Billy Burgess had three hits and two RBIs for UVU, including a two-out, RBI double in the ninth inning and put the tying run in scoring position. But Nevada closer Matt Gardner was able to escape the jam and pick up his third save in just five games.
The Wolfpack got a run in the third and four more in the fourth to take control of the contest. Jay Anderson had a two-run single as part of the four-run inning.
Nevada was threatening again in the fifth, with two on and nobody out, but a line drive to Cole McWhorter at second resulted in a 4-3 triple play. The junior second baseman caught the liner, stepped on the bag and threw to Goose Kallunki to retire the side. It's just the second triple play in UVU's nine-year NCAA Division I era.
Another run in the seventh, on an Austin Byler single, put Utah Valley in a 6-0 hole before the bats came alive against the Wolfpack bullpen in the eighth.
Burgess hit his first of two doubles to score Jake Rickenbach and get the Wolverines on the board with one out in the inning. Cole Butcher then doubled home Burgess and later scored on a base hit by Kai Hatch.
In the ninth, Jordy Hart – who started his first career game and had a stolen base – walked to lead off the inning before McWhorter was hit by a pitch. Two batters later, Burgess doubled home Hart but Gardner retired Butcher to end the game.
Chris Kerns made his debut in a Wolverine uniform and pitched a scoreless eighth. He was aided when Alex Exon gunned down his second runner of the day at second base.
The series continues on Saturday at 1 p.m. PT/2 p.m. MT from Peccole Park.
Clint Burgi is the assistant athletic director for sports information at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit http://www.WolverineGreen.com.