Baseball season was in full swing over the weekend for the University of Utah. The season opener in California against CSU Bakersfield was set to begin on Friday but was postponed due to rain. The game was made up on Saturday as part of a doubleheader. Utah fell short in its first ballgame of the season, losing 6-5, before it quickly turned things around for a 7-5 victory in game two. On Sunday, the team closed out the series strong with 20 hits and a seven-run ninth inning that helped Utah grasp a 15-3 win.
“I thought it was kind of a typical first weekend where we weren’t real sharp in some areas,” said head coach Bill Kinneberg. “We had some really good performances by some guys, but we had some disappointments as well, but that happens. Overall, you win two of three on the road, somewhat happy. Being able to be outside and play, that was good.”
Pitcher Jayson Rose earned the start for the first game of the year. Rose threw four innings and allowed four runs on three hits with three strikeouts. Right-handed pitcher, Trenton Stoltz allowed two runs on three hits, earning the loss.
Back-to-back hits from Dallas Carroll and Hunter Simmons helped Utah get on the board first with a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Bakersfield fired back three hits, and found itself on top 2-1 in the second before Utah tied it up, 2-2, at the top of the third. In the seventh inning Bakersfield took control, producing two runs and breaking a 4-4 tie to go up 6-4. Utah had a run in the eighth, but that was not enough to overcome Bakersfield.
DaShawn Kiersey Jr., Carroll, Chandler Anderson, Oliver Dunn and Wade Gulden each had two hits at the plate. Keirsey, Dunn, Carroll, Simmons and Max Schuman drove in runs.
In game two, sophomore Riley Ottesen earned the start, allowing five runs on eight hits with four strikeouts over five innings. Freshman Jacob Rebar threw the final four innings. In his first debut as a Ute, Rebar took the mound and put on a show, striking out nine of the 14 batters he faced.
Utah was down 3-0 before seeing some life in the fifth where it got four runs to take a 4-3 lead. Utah then fell behind 5-4, but it rallied back in the seventh with a three run inning to seal the deal. At the plate, Anderson was 3 for 3 in game two and 5 for 7 overall while Carroll went 4 for 6 on day one.
Utah was scoring runs left and right as the series wrapped up on Sunday. Bakersfield did not get on the board until the fifth inning when Utah was already leading 6-0, a lead compiled thanks to two runs in the second, a run in the fourth, and three runs in the fifth. Going into the ninth inning, Utah led 8-3 before going wild and scoring seven runs on six hits and taking advantage of an error.
Junior Josh Lapiana threw five innings and allowed one run on six hits with five strikeouts to get the win. Carroll went 4 for 6 at the plate with two RBIs. Anderson had three and four other Utes had multiple RBIs as well.
“We got a lot of guys in the game that was another good sign,” Kinneberg said. “So there won’t be as many jitters and we can just get down to playing baseball now.”
Up next, Utah will compete in the Pac-12/Big 10 Challenge to take on Ohio State and Nebraska beginning on Thursday Feb. 23 in Surprise, Ariz.