Austin Shackelford had two doubles to lead Utah at the plate.
March 25, 2011
SALT LAKE CITY - Despite a slow start, the Utah baseball team defeated Air Force, 5-3, on Friday afternoon to open a three-game series.
The Falcons went up 2-0 with runs in each of the first two innings before Utah tied the game at 2-2 with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third. James Brooks hit an infield single and stole second, before scoring on an errant throw on Michael Beltran's hit. C.J. Cron kept the inning going with a single, scoring on Shawn Cooper's double to tie the game.
Utah took the lead in the fourth inning. After loading the bases following a double from Austin Shackelford and walks to Jo Jo Sharrar and Tyler Relf, a failed pickoff attempt allowed two runs to score after the ball bounced into the Air Force dugout.
Utah starter Rick Anton settled down after giving up six hits and allowing two runs in the first two innings, and would pitch into the eighth inning. He allowed three runs on 12 hits, striking out five and picking up his third win of the season.
Utah added an insurance run in the bottom of the seventh after Shackelford had his second double of the day to lead off the inning. Air Force made a rally in the eighth after a leadoff triple by Nathan Carter, who scored before Tyler Wagner entered in relief and struck out four of the five batters he faced to pick up his sixth save of the year.
Beltran, Cooper and Shackelford each had two hits to lead Utah, which was out-hit by the Falcons, 12-10.
Utah handed Air Force pitcher Evan Albrecht his first loss of the season. Albrecht falls to 5-1, after going seven innings with nine hits, five runs (three earned) and five strikeouts.
Utah and Air Force continue with the second game of their three-game series on Saturday, March 26, beginning at 1:00 p.m.