Utah baseball wins game opener, abandons series to Huskies – the Daily Utah Chronicle


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Vinny Zavolta (6) in an NCAA baseball game against Washington State at Smith’s Ballpark in Salt Lake City, Utah on Saturday, April 10, 2021 (Photo by Kevin Cody | Daily Utah Chronicle)

The University of Utah baseball team traveled to Seattle for a three-game series against the University of Washington Huskies. Heading into the weekend, Utah lost three to Oregon and won a midweek game in Provo against BYU. The Huskies have struggled as much as the Utes this season, winning just three conference games against Utah’s five before the game. Utah won the first game, but ultimately lost the series by dropping the last two.

A short trip to the south

Utah’s game against BYU on Tuesday, May 18, showed positive signs the Utes could end a lackluster season with confidence. Utah started off with a bomber in the first inning at home with five runs and added six more in the third, fourth and fifth. At the same time, they held the Cougars down for the first three innings to take an 8-0 lead.

BYU had a few good innings at home halfway through, but Utah always responded and stayed comfortably ahead. Jaylon McLaughlin had an unusual fall at home plate, but teammates Matt Richardson (2-5), Chris Rowan Jr. (3-4) and Shea Kramer (2-5) all stepped up the pressure, making up half of the races. from Utah. For fans desperate for a silver lining at the end of the tough season, Utah is 3-1 against Team Down South in 2021.

A long trek in the north

Utah capitalized on the momentum of victory over BYU in Seattle. No one felt it more than pitcher Justin Kelly who took over command on the mound after a tough midseason slide. Kelly looked good against Oregon after a perfect four innings stint against northern Colorado, where he had nine strikeouts, a season-high.

Against Washington, Kelly’s concentration was unmistakable. In seven innings, he allowed just two runs on seven hits and sent seven Husky hitters to cover, ending the game with an IBO of 2.57 games. Utah haven’t seen Kelly perform so well against a Conference opponent since March against Stanford.

At home plate, Chase Fernlund put Utah in first place with a brace on the third baseline to score two. Fernlund is said to be Utah’s lone hitter with multiple hits on the night. Richardson would lead the third and final round of the second round on a mistake that gave Brock Rudy the chance to come home.

Washington responded with a two-run homerun, the only downside of the game for Kelly. The Huskies would add another run in the eighth, but it wouldn’t be enough and Utah won the game 7-3.

In Game 2, neither team brought their bats, each with just four hits. Washington managed to hold the lead on a sacrificed volley in the seventh. Utah added one in the eighth but ultimately abandoned the game 2-1.

The score of the third game was also close with a difference of one point. Washington came up early with four unanswered races. Utah got their first inning on the board in the fifth and kept the pressure on with runs in each successive inning until the ninth. The Utes threatened in the seventh after McLaughlin singles and steals second to prepare Kai Roberts for the RBI on a single. Roberts also stole second place to prepare Rykker Tom for the go-ahead, but was sent off at home on Tom’s single to end the set in 5-4. The Utes and Huskies traded points down the seventh and up the eighth to finish at 6-5.

Utah goes 6-21 in the Pac-12 game and even with two losses against Washington, they maintain a one-game lead to keep them from falling to last place in conference. The 2021 season ends this weekend with a three-game home streak against the USC Trojans. The games will be played at Ogden at Lindquist Field, with the first field scheduled for 6 p.m. EDT on Thursday, May 27.

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