Nate Burnham was 3-for-5 Saturday vs. Air Force.
May 12, 2007
AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. - One day after hammering Air Force 20-3, the University of Utah baseball team made things much more interesting on Saturday. The Utes slowly pulled out to a modest five-run lead and held on for a 9-6 victory over the Falcons at Falcon Field in Mountain West Conference action.
Utah jumped on top 3-0 after two innings. The Utes scored twice in the first on a pair of unearned runs, when center fielder Nate Burnham and shortstop Corey Shimada scored. An RBI double off the bat of Burnham put the Utes up by three after the top of the second.
Air Force scored the next three runs of the contest against Utah starter Eric King. The score was knotted at 3-3 after four innings. But Shimada gave Utah a lead it would not relinquish in the fifth. Shimada led off the frame with a solo home run down the left field line to put the Utes up 4-3. Utah added three more in the sixth on two hits, a passed ball and a sacrifice fly to grab a 7-3 lead.
Air Force put a single tally on the board in the sixth, knocking King from the game. But reliever John James limited the damage to one run and the Utes still led 7-4. Utah added two more in the seventh. Second baseman Bret Baldwin and catcher Jesse Shriner each came across the plate to put Utah on top 9-4.
Air Force loaded the bases with one out in the eighth, bringing Ute closer Brett Bruneel out of the bullpen. Bruneel gave up a two-run single to the first batter he faced. But he got out of the inning with a three-run advantage, 9-6. Bruneel retired the Falcons in order in the ninth to pick up his fifth save of the season.
Utah will look for its first MWC series sweep Sunday afternoon. First pitch is slated for Noon MDT at Falcon Field.