Nate Burnham was 3-for-5 with a home run Tuesday.
March 13, 2007
SALT LAKE CITY - The University of Utah baseball team was one clutch hit short in a 13-12, 10-inning loss to Gonzaga Tuesday afternoon at Ute Field. It was the home-opener for the Utes.
Utah (4-13) got a handful of late key hits to stay in the ballgame. Center fielder Nate Burnham and second baseman Corey Shimada hit back-to-back solo home runs in the eighth to tie the game at 10-10. Trailing 13-10 in the 10th, Ute designated hitter Dustin Hennis pounded a two-run double off the left-field fence to pull the Utes within one, 13-12.
But the key hits ended there. With the tying run at second base, right fielder John Welsh popped the first pitch up to the first baseman in foul territory. Backup catcher Cody Guymon then laced a ball into deep right field, but Gonzaga right fielder Brian Winston ran it down on the warning track to preserve a one-run win for the Bulldogs.
A clutch Utah hit in the ninth inning would have kept the game from even going into the 10th inning. Ute starting catcher Jesse Shriner led off the ninth with a base hit and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. But pinch hitter Bret Baldwin and shortstop Mike Mitchell were both retired on fly balls to keep the game knotted at 10-10.
Suspect defense was also a problem for Utah. The Utes committed five errors on the day, resulting in six unearned runs for Gonzaga (11-10).
Both teams scored twice in the first. Gonzaga scored two of its unearned runs in the second to go up 4-2. Utah answered with four in the bottom of the frame. Mitchell hammered a three-run triple to left-center and later scored on a passed ball to put Utah up 6-4.
Brandon Harmon (1-4) pitched 1 2/3 innings for Gonzaga, allowing just two hits to pick up his first win of the season. Shawn Wayt allowed two runs in the 10th, but still managed to pick up his second save for the Bulldogs. Geoff Wolfgramm (0-1) allowed three runs (two earned) in two innings of relief work to suffer the loss for Utah. The two teams combined to use 10 pitchers - four for Gonzaga and six for the Utes.
Michael Rhodes was 3-for-4 with three runs scored for Gonzaga, while Darin Holcomb was 4-for-6 with an RBI and a run scored. Burnham and Mitchell did much of the damage for Utah at the plate. Burnham was 3-for-5 with four runs scored and one RBI. Mitchell finished the day 2-for-5 with three RBIs and two runs.
Utah is in action again this weekend, opening a three-game series at Portland on Friday.