Tony Vocca picked up his first win of the season against Columbia.
March 11, 2012
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Utah baseball team surged in the late innings to close out the Jack Gifford Memorial Tournament with a 7-1 win over Columbia on Sunday.
The Utes broke a 1-1 tie in the sixth inning with two runs for a 3-1 lead. Shaun Cooper was hit by the pitch and Trey Nielsen singled to put two on for Josh Alexander, who singled to drive in Cooper. Gavin Green followed with a single up the middle to send across Nielsen.
Utah continued to pull ahead with three runs in the seventh inning, as Cooper hit a three-run home run to left field to give the Utes a 6-1 lead.
The Utes added a run in the eighth inning on an RBI double from James Brooks.
Tony Vocca and Josh Chapman combined to allow just six hits and one run. Vocca threw five innings as the starter, striking out seven while allowing one runs on four hits. He earned his first win of the season. Chapman gave up just two hits in his four innings of work, striking out two. He picked up his first save of the year.
Cooper had four RBI in a 2-for-4 day at the plate. Brooks was 3-for-5 while Nielsen and Green also had two hits.
"We hung in there and finally got some key hits with people on base," Utah head coach Bill Kinneberg said. "Vocca and Chapman did a nice job throwing strikes and holding them to one run. They threatened a lot but we were able to get out of it. It was a good way to end the weekend."
The Utes threatened in the first inning, putting two on with one out, but Connor Eppard was thrown out at home. Columbia took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on a solo home run from Nick Ferraresi, but Utah countered in the top of the third with an RBI single from Cooper after Brooks led off the inning with a single.
Utah opens its Pac-12 campaign with a three-game series at USC, beginning on Friday, March 16, at 6:00 p.m. PT.