Jordan Whatcott pitched six innings, allowing one run on three hits.
May 22, 2009
FORT WORTH - The Utah baseball team defeated San Diego State, 4-1, in the winners bracket at the Mountain West Conference Tournament on Friday evening, forcing a second championship game at 1:00 p.m. (CT) on Saturday, May 23.
Earlier in the day, Utah defeated No. 1 seed and 10th ranked TCU, 6-4, to eliminate the Horned Frogs. The Utes were playing in their first MWC Tournament championship game in league history.
"It's a testament to their will to come back and play as hard and as determined as they did after last night's loss," Utah head coach Bill Kinneberg said. "I am really proud of them. We had opportunities to quit all year long with the tough losses that we've had, and they've always fought back and fought harder and haven't given up. It's been remarkable for me to watch them."
Ute starting pitcher Jordan Whatcott, pitching on short rest and having closed out the earlier TCU game with a save, went six inning on the mound allowing one run with four strikeouts. Brian Budrow, who started Wednesday's game, pitched three innings in relief.
"I am proud of all four guys that threw today," Kinneberg said. "Bryn Card set the tone early against TCU and gave us six quality innings, Greg Krause gave us great innings and Jordan closed out the game. For Jordan and Brian to throw on short rest is really a tremendous feat."
Utah took a 2-0 lead in the third inning. Cooper Blanc and Michael Beltran were each hit to reach base. Corey Shimada's sacrifice bunt moved both runners over and set up Tyler Yagi's two RBI single up the middle to put the Utes on the board.
SDSU put a run up in the bottom of the fourth. Erik Castro led off the inning with a double to deep center field, scoring on Cory Vaughn's ground out. Although the Aztecs loaded the bases with walks to Brandon Decker and Ryan O'Sullivan, Whatcott forced Pat Colwell into a ground out to end the inning and get out of the jam.
The Utes added an insurance run in the top of the eighth inning, as Devin Walker hit a two-out double down the left field line that was just fair. He was replaced by pinch runner Josh Reed who scored when Austin Jones singled through the left side, putting the Utah up 3-1.
Shimada hit a two out solo home run in the top of the ninth inning to give Utah a 4-1 lead.
San Diego State looked to make a rally in the ninth inning with Mitch Blackburn leading off the inning with a single. Ryan O'Sullivan drew a two-out walk before Colwell grounded out to end the game.
C.J. Cron led Utah with two hits.