OREM — Utah Valley University completed an undefeated Great West Conference season at 28-0 after holding off Northern Colorado, 10-9, on Saturday in its regular-season finale at Brent Brown Ballpark. UVU is now 76-4 in three Great West regular seasons.
The Wolverines move to 43-12 overall, surpassing the school record for wins in a season, which was set in 2010. UVU will open next week’s GWC Tournament at home on Tuesday at 7 p.m. MT against NYIT.
“Our guys just grinded it out today and that's what I'm most proud of,” said head coach Eric Madsen. “What an unbelievable year. The players have excelled a lot this year with their backs against the wall and found ways to win all year long.“
After Northern Colorado (25-31, 15-13) scored a single run in the top of the first, UVU tied it on a Billy Burgess sac-fly and then went ahead when Goose Kallunki singled home Sean Moysh. For Kallunki, it was his nation-leading 80th RBI of the season and moved him into first place on the school’s all-time list with 217 for his career.
The Bears put up six runs in the second on five hits, including two-run doubles from Derek Baum and Casey Coy.
The Wolverines answered, though, getting five in the bottom half of the frame. Jake Rickenbach was hit by a pitch with the bases full to bring home one run before Billy Burgess delivered his fifth career grand slam, tying the game at 7-7.
Jensen Park gave UNC a one-run lead with an RBI double in the fourth, but again UVU responded, getting three in the bottom of the inning to take the lead for good.
Kai Hatch singled home Burgess for the game-tying run and then Alex Exon’s single back up the middle plated both Kallunki and Hatch to give Utah Valley a 10-8 lead.
Kevin Hurd’s two-out base hit got Northern Colorado within a run in the sixth, but neither team would score after that.
Taylor Mangum threw 2.1 innings in relief to get the win, his second of the weekend, moving his season record to 6-0. Josh Swenson, Ryan Chadwick and Adam Gunn then combined to limit UNC to just one run over the final five innings.
Chadwick lasted 2.2 innings and gave way to Adam Gunn with two outs and a runner on first in the ninth. Gunn got Colby Harrison to ground out to Willie Pratt at second to end the game for his first save in his first relief appearance.
Burgess drove in five runs for Utah Valley while Exon had three hits and two RBIs. Coy led the Bears with three hits.
Utah Valley is the top seed in next week’s GWC Tournament and will face 8th-seeded NYIT in the opening round of the double-elimination tournament at Brent Brown Ballpark.
Prior to Saturday's game, UVU honored its 10 seniors playing in their final regular-season home games.
Clint Burgi is the assistant athletic director for sports information at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.