The University of Utah baseball team went 3-1 in the Pac-12/Big 10 Challenge over the weekend. Utah swept Ohio State starting with a 12-0 shutout on Thursday, and it ended Saturday evening with a 6-4 victory. Against Nebraska, the team went 1-1 as Utah took the first ballgame 7-5 on Friday, but it dropped the last game of the weekend, 4-3.
Utah opened up against the Buckeyes with a solid performance on the field. Utah had runners on base in every inning, and it ended the game with 16 total hits. Freshman Jacob Rebar was impressive on the mound throwing 5 2/3 innings while allowing just three hits with three strikeouts and a walk to earn the win. Rebar retired 14 straight runners before allowing a double in the sixth inning. Chase Bauerle, Trenton Stoltz and Hunter Rodriguez then came in to finish the night.
Lead off hitter DaShawn Keirsey Jr. got Utah on the board in the first inning. Keirsey Jr. had a single before moving to second on an error and then scored on a groundout.
The second inning featured five runs by Utah. Chandler Anderson reached base on an error, Zack Moeller singled, Kyle Hoffman had a RBI single and Keirsey Jr. added a single that loaded the bases. Oliver Dunn then came up big for Utah as he stepped up to the plate in a bases loaded situation and smacked a double. Three runs were added to the scoreboard before Hunter Simmons drove in a run with a RBI single to go up 6-0.
Utah went on to score a two-run home run in the fourth from Josh Rose, three runs in the fifth and a run in the sixth to break down Ohio State and wrap up their first day in Arizona.
The following day Utah and Nebraska met on the field in what was a much closer game. Utah got ahead of the Huskers many times, but Nebraska was never far behind, and it tied things up several times. Both teams had a run in the first inning, then in the third Utah added two more runs going up 3-1. In the fifth, Nebraska fired back to tie the ballgame, 3-3.
At the top of the seventh, Hoffman singled and Dallas Carroll was intentionally walked. Simmons, who went 4-for-4 and contributed three RBIs on the night, hit a two-RBI single to give Utah a 5-3 lead, but not for long. Nebraska once again came back to tie it, 5-5 in the bottom of the seventh. In the eighth Keirsey Jr. batted in Chandler Anderson, and in the ninth inning, Utah added one final run to close the game.
Back at it again Saturday evening, Utah defeated Ohio State. Pitcher Riley Ottesen earned his first win of the year as he pitched six innings and surrendered three hits, a run, two walks and four strikeouts. In the eighth, senior Dylan Drachler entered and threw 1 1/3 innings with a strikeout to record his second save of the season.
Utah was able to get two runs on the board in the first and the fourth innings. The team continued to add to the score as Josh Rose scored on Alex Isola’s RBI in the fifth. Utah took a 6-1 lead in the seventh. Ohio State went on to have three runs and pulled within two runs as the game came to a close.
In the final game, Utah fell to Nebraska as it struggled to get its bats hot. Two of the three hits during that game came from the designated hitter Wade Gulden, and the other was from Keirsey Jr.. With the loss, pitcher Josh Lapiana fell to 1-1 on the season. Lapiana threw five innings as he allowed four runs on five hits with seven strikeouts and four walks.
“We saw good competition this weekend. The three guys that pitched against us [on Sunday] were really good guys,” said head coach Bill Kinneberg. “We didn’t do a real good job against them. But give credit to them.”
Utah will be on the road again this weekend for a four-game series in Texas against the University of Texas at San Antonio beginning on Friday.