After getting outscored 28-5 over its past four games, all of which resulted in losses, Utah got going a bit against the Wolverines en route to a 7-3 victory.
With the game knotted up at three in the seventh inning, the Utes scored four unanswered runs to take the win. “Yeah definitely, we were struggling,” said sophomore catcher AJ Young. “Getting a little frustrated at the beginning, but now it’s a little more positive in the dugout. Looks like it’s going to be going our way pretty soon.”
For the first five innings, it appeared Tuesday’s tilt would be similar to the past four for Utah, as it trailed 3-1. The Utes responded to the adversity, though, scoring two runs in the sixth to tie things up. They scored three in the seventh to take control and tacked another on in the ninth for good measure. Utah tallied nine hits on the evening.
Despite the late charge, Utes head coach Bill Kinneberg isn’t entirely satisfied with his team’s bats yet.
“I don’t think our offensive confidence is where it needs to be,” Kinneberg said. “That’ll grow when we have success at the plate. Our guys have got to get confident the next two days.”
Leading the way offensively for Utah was Young, who went 3-for-3 with an RBI. His single in the seventh inning started the big frame for the Utes. Max Schuman went 2-for-4, sophomore outfielder Wyler Smith went 1-for-1 with two RBIs and senior outfielder Braden Anderson also had two RBIs.
“We got the monkey off our backs,” Young said. “We have got to keep rolling now.”
Sophomore pitcher Dalton Carroll had a good day on the mound, as he pitched five and one-third innings and had six strikeouts while only giving up three hits. Freshman Dylan Drachler was the big story on the bump, though. Relieving Carroll in the fifth, the newcomer struck out eight of the 11 batters he saw and didn’t surrender a hit or a walk on his way to being credited with his first career win.
Kinneberg was impressed with how Carroll started but hopes he can improve his slider as the season progresses. The coach did have high praise for Drachler’s brilliant performance, though.
“I was really impressed with Drachler,” he said. “He was outstanding today. Eight strikeouts in four innings is really good. He put zeroes up and allowed our team to score some runs.”
Moving forward, Kinneberg recognizes his team needs to continue to work on finding ways to produce runs. “Still not happy with our offense,” he said. “We’ll take the win. It’s a Tuesday night. We got opportunities, and we’ll practice hard the next few days and get after it.”
Utah will look to build more momentum when it travels to Oregon this weekend to take on the Ducks in a three-game series. The Utes will be looking to tally their first victory in Pac-12 play when things get going 7 p.m. MST on Friday.