Jesse Shriner was 4-for-5 and knocked in the winning run Sunday.
April 1, 2007
SALT LAKE CITY - Sunday was April Fool's Day. There was certainly plenty for the University of Utah baseball team to laugh about after its contest with UNLV Sunday afternoon at Franklin Covey Field.
UNLV (14-20, 3-3 MWC) jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the first five innings of the contest. But the joke was on the Rebels, as Utah (10-17, 3-3 MWC) scored 10 unanswered runs to take a 10-9 victory. The Utes avoided a three-game sweep by the Rebels with the victory.
With UNLV leading 9-0 after the top of the fifth, Utah finally lit the scoreboard in the bottom of the inning. Second baseman Corey Shimada plated the Utes' first two runs with a double to right-center.
But it was a seventh-inning rally that got Utah back into the contest. The Utes sent 11 batters to the plate in the frame, scoring six runs on four hits and four walks. Catcher Jesse Shriner started the inning with a sharp single up the middle and later scored on a wild pitch. Three batters later, center fielder Nate Burnham drew a one-out walk, finally forcing UNLV starter Matt Hutchison out of the contest.
Rebel reliever Michael Goodman got Shimada to ground out, but he did not record another out. First baseman Jay Brossman walked to load the bases. Left fielder Dustin Hennis drew another walk to make it 9-4. Right fielder John Welsh followed by poking a single through the left side, pushing two more runs across. That brought Koji Pupo out of the UNLV bullpen. He didn't fare much better, walking DH Bret Baldwin and allowing a bloop single to center by Shriner. That base hit pulled the Utes back within a single run, 9-8. Rebel closer Adam Moser finally got his team out of the inning with a strikeout of pinch hitter Cody Guymon.
The drama began with one out, when Hennis laced a double into the right-field corner and advanced to third when Rebel right fielder Calvin Beamon misplayed a carom off the wall. The next batter, Welsh, dropped a 2-0 pitch from Moser into left-center. The hit, which Welsh stretched into a double, plated pinch-runner Nick Lowery with the tying run and set up some heroics by Shriner. UNLV intentionally walked Baldwin to put the double play in order. But Shriner got a first-pitch fastball from Moser and ripped it down the left-field line, allowing Welsh to score the game-winning run.
Shriner finished his day going 4-for-5 with a run scored and three RBIs. Welsh was 2-for-4 with two rusn and three driven in. Fife picked up the victory and improved to 3-1 on the season. Moser (4-2) suffered the loss, allowing two runs in 1 2/3 innings.
UNLV scored three runs off Utah starter Brad DeVore in the first inning. The Rebels added four more off relievers Geoff Wolfgramm and Chad Cullers in the fourth to make it 7-0. UNLV looked to be in control in the fifth when Blake Gailen hit a two-run home run off Cullers to put his team up 9-0. But those were the last runs the Rebels would score, as Cullers and Fife held them scoreless for the final four innings.
Utah will play a four-game, non-conference series with Utah Valley State next week. The Utes host the Wolverines Thursday at Ute Field and play Friday at Utah Valley. Saturday, the teams will play a twinbill at Ute Field.