Tyler Relf successfully executed a squeeze bunt in the eighth inning to give Utah the lead.
April 16, 2013
OREM, Utah - After an early five-run deficit the Utah baseball team rallied for a 7-6 victory over Utah Valley on Tuesday evening.
Utah Valley took a 6-1 lead after the first inning, forcing the Utes to play from behind most of the game. Utah scored runs in the third, sixth and seventh innings to cut the lead to 6-4 before a three-run eighth inning gave the Utes the lead.
"It's a testament to our team, particularly Luke West, that we continued to put zeros up after a disastrous first inning," Utah head coach Bill Kinneberg said. "Our whole team hung in there and they battled, and in the end they won the last three innings. That's what we preach, and it happened for us today."
In the top of the eighth inning, Cory Hunt started the final rally with a single up the middle followed by an infield single from Cody Scaggari. Braden Anderson sent both runners across the plate with a single to center field, tying the game at 6-6, and moved to third after a throwing error. Tyler Relf and Anderson successfully executed a squeeze play bunt to score Anderson for the game-winning run.
"Tyler read the third baseman, and that was an excellent decision on his part and an excellent execution of a drag bunt," Kinneberg said. "They opened the door for us and he took it - that was a big play for us."
After entering midway through the second inning, pitcher Luke West was solid in relief for the Utes. He allowed just one hit over six innings, striking out eight and allowing Utah to get back into the game. Nick Green pitched the final 1 2/3 innings, allowing one hit with two strikeouts.
Relf and Hunt led Utah at the plate. Relf had a 3-for-5 performance with two RBI while Hunt went 3-for-4 with an RBI. Anderson, Scaggari, Trey Nielsen and AJ Young each had two hits, while Anderson drove in two runs.
Although the Utes took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning after Anderson beat out an infield single to lead off the game and scored on an RBI single off the bat of Nielsen, Utah Valley came back in the bottom of the first with six runs. The Wolverines had four hits in the inning and took advantage of two Utah errors and two walks.
Forced to play from behind, the Utes slowly cut into Utah Valley's lead. Utah scored a run in the third inning behind hits from Scaggari and Relf. The Utes added another run in the sixth inning with Connor Eppard drawing a walk and Young reaching base with a single before Hunt's RBI single up the middle cut the lead to 6-3.
The seventh inning saw a double from Relf followed by a single from Nielsen plus some heads-up base running to score a run cut Utah Valley's lead to two, 6-4, before taking the lead in the eighth inning.
The Utes return home this weekend for a three-game series against USC, beginning on Friday, April 19, at 6:00 p.m. MT.