BELLEVUE, Wash. – Utah Valley scored four runs in the eighth and managed to hold on in the ninth, as Jesse Schmit came on to earn his second save in as many days en route to helping UVU take two of three in the WAC opening series at Seattle U with a 6-5 victory in the series finale on Sunday.
With UVU (5-18, 2-1 WAC) holding to a 6-1 lead entering the last of the ninth, SU (5-17, 1-2 WAC) managed to rally with four runs to make it a one-run deficit at 6-5. With two outs and the bases loaded, the Wolverines then brought on the closer Schmit and he managed to draw a game-ending flyout off the bat of Jake Taylor to seal the victory for the Wolverines.
Jake Plecas led UVU at the plate by going 3-for-4 on the afternoon with two runs scored and a walk, while Alexander Marco added a 2-for-3 outing with an RBI, a walk and a double. The Kennewick, Washington native Jake Kirchhoff drove home what proved to be the winning run in the eighth for the Wolverines with a sacrifice fly.
With Seattle U holding to a 1-0 advantage following a solo home run from Austin Lively in the second inning, Utah Valley answered by getting two back in the third to take a 2-1 lead. UVU loaded the bases with just one away in the frame on singles from Plecas and Michael Beltran as well as a walk from Kody Hall. Ryan Eastburn then followed by driving home Plecas on an RBI fielder's choice and the second run came in on an SU throwing error to give the Wolverines the 2-1 lead.
Both teams then got solid middle relief work from UVU's Cole Yocum and SU's Josh Thompson to keep it a 2-1 game until the eighth.
Still 2-1 in the top of the eighth, Utah Valley's bats then again came alive to drive in four decisive insurance runs to make it 6-1. With runners on first and second with just one away, Hall started the scoring in the frame by hitting a hard ground ball to third that SU's third baseman misplayed to bring home Plecas and make it 3-1. After a walk by Beltran loaded the bases, Eastburn then delivered an RBI single to center for UVU's fourth run and Marco promptly followed with an RBI single of his own to left to make it 5-1. Kirchhoff then capped the scoring in the big inning with a deep fly ball to foul territory in right to pick up a sacrifice fly and extend UVU's lead to 6-1.
With UVU holding to the 6-1 advantage in the last of the ninth, the Redhawks again managed to rally in their final at-bat by scoring four runs to make it a one-run game at 6-5. With two on and one out, Jacob Prater started the big inning for SU with an RBI double to left to make it 6-2. Kyle Sherick then followed with a sac fly to make it 6-3. With two outs, Seattle U then got an RBI single up the middle from Justin Mazzone and later followed with another RBI single from Chase Wells to make it a one-run game. With the bases loaded and still two away, the Wolverines then went to the closer Schmit and he came on and promptly got Taylor to fly out to Marco in right to end the threat and the ballgame.Comment on this story
The freshman Yocum earned his first collegiate win after pitching 5.0 innings of effective relief for the Wolverines. The left-hander allowed just two runs on four hits while striking out two. He didn't allow a run until his sixth inning of work on the afternoon. Schmit came on late in the ninth to earn his third save of the season and second of the series.
The series win marked UVU's first of the 2019 season.
The Wolverines will now return home to host the Oregon Ducks of the Pac-12 Conference in midweek action on Wednesday, March 27 at 6 p.m. at UCCU Ballpark. Following the ballgame, UVU will then host the preseason favorite Grand Canyon Antelopes for a three-game WAC series next weekend (March 29-31).