Down to the final out in the bottom of the ninth, Utah’s Josh Rose stepped up to the plate. Rose was 0-for-3 heading into the at-bat, but on his fourth try, Rose laced the ball through the gap between first and second base to score Chandler Anderson, pinch running for Hunter Simmons, and extend the game to extra innings.
Once the Utes were in extras, however, things didn’t go as planned. Utah allowed four runs in the tenth inning, trying three different pitchers in the frame to try and stop the Utah Valley offense. The Utes would end up losing 12-11, the third loss this year to the Wolverines in as many games.
“We made so many mistakes today, both sides of the ball,” said Utah head coach Bill Kinneberg. “We didn’t deserve to win, so my hat’s off to Utah Valley — they did a great job, did everything they needed to do, made big plays at the end, and we didn’t.”
Utah rallied again in the 10th, scoring three runs, but couldn’t push the tying run across the plate. The game – full of offense – ended four hours and thirty minutes after the first pitch on a defensive play when Zac Willis threw Kody Davis out trying to steal second with two outs and A.J. Young batting.
The two teams combined to use 17 pitchers during the game, nine for UVU and eight for Utah. Ultimately, Garrett Bowman – the eighth pitcher used by the Wolverines – got the win, and Jason Jourdan – the ninth pitcher used – took home his first save of the season. For Utah, Dylan Drachler – the sixth pitcher used by Kinneberg – took the loss, dropping his record to 1-3 on the season.
Kellen Marruffo, who went 3-for-5 with four RBIs in the loss, said the Utes didn’t have the right mindset going into the UVU contest.
“Midweek games, out of conference. I just don’t think right now, we don’t have the right mindset on Tuesday’s, that’s kind of been our bugaboo,” Marruffo said. “Our focus has been great on weekends and conference stuff, and we’ve just not been doing a good enough job transferring over that focus and intensity into the midweek stuff.”
UVU struck first in the top of the second inning, when Justin Erlandson drove Rodriguez’s pitch up the middle to drive home Paul Estrada.
Utah wasted no time avenging the run, scoring their first of the night in the bottom of the second when Davis singled to left field, scoring Max Schuman.
The Wolverines responded in the third with two runs, courtesy of Mark Krueger and Spencer Gothberg. Krueger grounded out to Davis, the second baseman, but brought Zac Willis home to give Utah Valley a 2-1 lead. The Woverines tacked on another run later in the inning on a Gothberg RBI single to score Greyson Bogden.
In the bottom of the third frame, Utah scored three runs on only one hit to grab a 4-3 lead. Marruffo doubled over the centerfielder’s head, bringing in Dallas Carroll from first base. Simmons then walked to load the bases, and Davis brought Marrufo home on a sacrifice fly to deep left field. Young completed the scoring trifecta with an RBI on a fielder’s choice that brought home Schuman, who had walked earlier in the inning.
UVU knotted the contest up in the top of the fourth on a Trevor Howell RBI double that bounced off the wall in left field, but Marruffo took the lead back for the Utes with a solo home run to right field, Marruffo’s third home run of the season.
In a game where momentum swung like a pendulum between the two in-state rivals, UVU reclaimed the lead on Craig Brinkerhoff’s fifth home run of the year in the top of the fifth inning, a shot that just went left of the batter’s eye in centerfield – scoring himself and Gothberg to give the Wolverines a 6-5 lead.
In the sixth, UVU’s Zac Willis hit a ball to shallow left center that was misplayed by the leftfielder Schuman. Willis would end up standing on third, having scored Justin Erlandson to make it 7-5 for the Wolverines. Bogden added another run on a single up the middle to score Willis, and the top of the sixth ended UVU 8, Utah 5.
In the bottom of the sixth, Marruffo earned his third and fourth RBIs on a doubled down the right field line to cut the deficit to one.
After a scoring frenzy much of the game, both sides were held scoreless through the top of the ninth, but Rose extended the game with his RBI single.
The Wolverines scored four in the top of the tenth, but Utah rallied. Schuman doubled to right field to drive home Carroll, cutting the gap to three, and then Marruffo scored on a wild pitch by Jourdan to pull the Utes within two.
On the next at bat, Wade Gulden singled to right field to score Schuman but was tagged out trying to stretch it into a double. The out hurt when Davis singled to right field on the next play, which possibly could have scored Gulden. Davis was caught stealing second to end the marathon ballgame.
Up next for Utah is a three-game series with Oregon State, who is ranked No. 14 in the nation.