Connor Eppard's two-run double gave Utah the lead for good
April 5, 2013
SALT LAKE CITY - The Utah baseball team rallied for four runs in the pivotal eighth inning as it toppled Washington State in game one of their three-game Pac-12 series this afternoon, 7-4. Sophomore Mitch Watrous went eight innings to pick up the win.
"It was a great team effort today that earned us the win," Utah manager Bill Kinneberg said. "Mitch [Watrous] struggled through the first two innings but we hung in there and got of some jams. The defense picked him up, turning four double plays. Then we got some key hits late in that eighth inning and were able to get the victory."
Watrous picked up his second win of the season by holding the Cougars off the scoreboard for the final six innings of his outing. The right-hander threw 104 pitches for the Utes, walking four and striking out three. Nick Green pitched the ninth inning to earn the save.
With one out in the eighth, Trey Nielsen hit a hot-shot to third and reached on the play. TJ Bennett followed with a single to right and Tyler Relf tied the game with a RBI double to right-center field. After an intentional walk to Tyler Yagi, pinch hitter Connor Eppard came through with a two-run double to left for a 6-4 Utah lead.
A RBI single by Wyler Smith gave the Utes some insurance as the team scored four runs in the frame off WSU's Kellen Camus. The junior right-hander was 3-0 with a 1.77 earned-run average entering today's contest.
The visitors put their first two runners on base with one scoring on a fielder's choice by third baseman Nick Tanielu. In the second inning, Ian Sagdal tripled and scored on a double play. First baseman Jason Monda would follow with a two-run homer for an early WSU 4-0 lead.
Utah broke through in the bottom half of the second after Yagi and Konnor Armijo hit consecutive singles. A failed pickoff by WSU pitcher Joe Pistorese allowed Yagi to come home with the Utes' first run.
The home team would tack on another run in the fifth when shortstop Cory Hunt uncorked his third homer of the season, tying him for the team lead.
The Utes inched closer in the seventh off a tiring Pistorese. Yagi reached again, this time on a throwing error on the Cougar hurler. A sacrifice bunt and wild pitch moved Yagi to third with two outs. After Hunt drew a walk, Pistorese was called for a balk that trimmed the deficit to 4-3.
Bennett and Smith each went 2-for-4 to lead the Utes at the plate.
Utah and WSU play game two of their three-game series tomorrow at noon from Spring Mobile Ballpark.