OREM —Utah Valley University reeled off 15 consecutive late runs en route to earning a 20-13 come-from-behind victory over Pac-12 foe Washington State in UVU's home finale in front of a season-high 3,014 fans on Tuesday night at UCCU Ballpark.
With the Wolverines trailing 13-5 in the sixth inning, senior Michael Beltran helped jumpstart the offense with a clutch three-run home run. UVU then managed to put up eight more runs in the seventh and four in the eighth to complete the comeback victory in both team's nonconference finale. The Wolverines were aided by four free passes and an error in the decisive eight-run seventh frame.
Utah Valley improves to 14-36 (9-15 WAC) with the victory, while WSU drops to 10-37-1 (2-21-1 Pac-12) with the setback. UVU will enter its final WAC series of the season at UT Rio Grande Valley this weekend having won three of its last four games.
"Our team never quit and kept competing throughout the game. It was awesome to see and all the credit goes to the guys," head UVU coach Eric Madsen said. "I was pleased that we were able to take advantage of a number of mistakes in this one. We were given a lot of late opportunities and the guys did a great job of capitalizing."
The freshman Mick Madsen led UVU at the plate in the home finale by going 3-for-5 with a Utah Valley season-high five RBIs, while the senior Beltran followed with a 3-for-4 outing with four runs batted home in his final home game. The reigning WAC Hitter of the Week and fellow senior Trevor Howell too capped his career at UCCU Ballpark with two hits and four runs scored, while fellow seniors Ryan Eastburn, Paul Estrada and Kody Hall each finished with a hit apiece and all drove in runs in their final home game.
UVU jumped out to an early 3-1 advantage after scoring a trio of first-inning runs. After the first run came home on a Cougar throwing miscue, Madsen delivered a two-run single to drive home both Beltran and Eastburn and give the Wolverines an early lead.
Washington State then countered back in a big way with six runs in the second and four more in the fourth to take an 11-3 lead. Andres Alvarez had the big hit for the Cougars in the second with a two-run double, while Brody Barnum blasted out a three-run homer in the fourth.
The Wolverines then got two unearned runs back in the last of the fourth on a groundout from Kody Hall and a two-out RBI hit from Trevor Howell to make it an 11-5 contest, but WSU responded with two runs in the sixth to take a 13-5 advantage.
Trailing by eight runs for the second time in the game, Beltran responded for the Wolverines with a three-run homer to left-center in the bottom of the sixth for his third round tripper of his senior campaign to make it a 13-8 contest.
UVU then loaded the bases with nobody out in the bottom of the seventh and managed to get eight runs back to take a 16-13 advantage. Estrada and Hall started the scoring in the big inning with back-to-back RBI singles and Kade Poulsen and Estrada then both came in to score on wild pitches to make it a one-run game at 13-12. Still with nobody out, Beltran then tied the game with a sacrifice fly to center and Eastburn promptly followed with a go-ahead RBI single to right to give the Wolverines a 14-13 advantage. With one away, Madsen then drove in his third run of the game with an RBI single and Drew Sims capped the big inning with a sacrifice fly to center to give UVU a 16-13 lead.
Utah Valley's offense wasn't done, as Alexander Marco then delivered a two-out, two-run double in the eighth and Madsen followed with a two-run single to extend the advantage to 20-13 and put the game out of reach.
A total of six pitchers saw action in the contest for the Wolverines and Logan Petet (1-0) earned his first win of the season by pitching a pair of scoreless innings late in the game. WSU reliever Connor Barison (1-3) was tagged with the loss after surrendering four runs on two hits in the seventh. The Washington State pitching staff combined to allow 14 free passes (12 walks and two hit batters) on the night, while WSU's defense also committed a trio of errors.Comment on this story
The victory marked UVU's second of the season over a Pac-12 Conference opponent, as Utah Valley went 2-2 on the year against Pac-12 foes.
The 20 runs marked a season-high for Utah Valley.
The Wolverines will now head to Edinburg, Texas, this weekend for the final WAC series of the 2019 season at fourth-place UT Rio Grande Valley. The series will run Thursday (6 p.m. MDT), Friday (6 p.m. MDT) and Saturday (11 a.m. MDT) at UTRGV Baseball Stadium. The Wolverines will enter the series with the magic number of one en route to clinching a spot for next week's WAC Baseball Tournament.