Trey Nielsen had three hits for the Utes against UCLA.
March 31, 2012
SALT LAKE CITY - Despite out-hitting the Bruins, the Utah baseball team fell to UCLA, 9-6, on Saturday afternoon.
Utah starter Brock Duke struggled with walks in the early innings, and the Bruins were able to take advantage to score a run in the first inning before forcing UCLA into leaving the bases loaded in the second inning.
The Utes got on the board in the third inning after hits from Tyson Gonzalez and James Brooks set up an RBI double by Shaun Cooper. The Bruins rallied in the top of the fourth to score two runs on three hits, but Utah kept pace in the bottom of the inning with Trey Nielsen scoring after leading off the inning with a double to put the UCLA lead at 3-2.
UCLA looked to take control in the sixth inning, scoring three runs (all unearned after a Utah error) to take a 6-2 lead. Trevor Brown hit a bases-loaded two-RBI double to send two runs across in the inning. The Utes came back with two runs of their own in the bottom of the inning, after Nielsen and Jo Jo Sharrar got on base with two-out singles, Gavin Green drove in both runners with a single up the middle to put the score at 6-4.
The Bruins continued to increase their lead with two runs in the top of the seventh on a pair of hits. The Utes added a run in the bottom of the seventh, with Brooks leading off the inning with a home run. Morin just missed a home run in the inning with a double that hit high off the wall.
Utah added to its total in the eighth inning after an RBI single from Brooks following two batters reaching base after being hit by the pitch to put the score at 8-6. In the top of the ninth UCLA scored an unearned run following a leadoff double from Pat Valaika to put the score at 9-6.
"I am happy with the way that we came back from last night," Utah head coach Bill Kinneberg said. "[UCLA] did a nice job with clutch hitting and keeping space between us, and we couldn't get them stopped. I was proud of our team for the way we kept coming back in the game."
Brooks and Nielsen led the Utes at the plate with three hits each. Brooks and Green each drove in two runs. Utah had 14 hits compared to nine for UCLA.
Nick Vander Tuig pitched 5 2/3 innings for the Bruins, allowing four runs on nine hits with one strikeout. He was one of five pitchers for UCLA in the game. Scott Griggs came away with a save.
Utah and UCLA play game three of the series on Sunday, April 1, at 1:00 p.m. MT. Inclement weather is forecast for the Salt Lake City area, any updates will be announced on UtahUtes.com.