The University of Utah baseball team (9-4) was back on its stomping grounds over the weekend to take on New Mexico State (10-8). The Utes clinched the win in their home opener on Friday, 5-1, and Saturday, also by a score of 5-1. They fell short in the final game of the series on Sunday, losing 3-0.
The Utes were blasting home runs left and right in their first game. In the bottom of the second inning Wade Gulden got Utah on the board first with a home run to right field. The Aggies tied it up 1-1 in the top of the fourth when their only run of the day came on a wild pitch. In the seventh inning, Zack Moeller put the Utes ahead 2-1 with a home run, his second of the year.
The Utes added to their home runs list at the bottom of the eighth when DaShawn Keirsey, Jr. blasted one to left field to give the team a 3-1 lead. Hunter Simmons was walked before Rose smashed a long ball for a two-run home run. The fourth home run of the day put Utah up 5-1.
On the mound Jayson Rose earned the win after pitching seven innings with six strikeouts and allowing one run on two hits with three walks. Trenton Stoltz entered the game to pitch part of the eighth before Dylan Drachler came in to close the game. Drachler threw 1 2/3 innings, striking out two and earning the save.
The Utes outhit the Aggies, who came in as the No. 2 team in the nation batting average wise, 9-3.
On Saturday afternoon in game two, the Utes jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the first inning. With bases loaded, Josh Rose drove in Keirsey Jr. to give the Utes a 1-0 lead. Dunn scored on a wild pitch and Hunter Simmons scored on an error. They added two more runs to the score in the fourth before the Aggies got a run in the seventh. Moeller walked and Kyle Hoffman singled to center before Carroll doubled sending in Moeller and Hoffman.
Dallas Carroll led the team with 2 RA is and at the plate Kyle Hoffman led the way for the Utes going 2-for-3. Earning the win was Riley Ottesen who pitched seven innings, and he allowed one run on six hits with five strikeouts and a walk. Ottesen improved to 3-0 on the season. Jacob Rebar made an appearance for the final two innings where he had one strikeout and a walk.
“I thought we pitched all but one inning extremely well this weekend,” said head coach Bill Kinneberg. “Rose and Ottesen were spectacular in the first few games.”
Wrapping the weekend up on Sunday, the Utes could not get anything going. The Aggies scored two runs in the top of the first and one in the third. Keirsey Jr. went 2-for-4 at the plate and Simmons went 1-for-2 with two walks.
“I think we hit a lot of balls hard just right at people,” Keirsey Jr. explained. “They made plays today so good for them.”
Josh Lapiana pitched the first two innings and earned the loss, falling to 1-2 on the year. Replacing him and throwing five shutout innings was Tanner Thomas who had three strikeouts, one walk, and he allowed two hits. Chase Bauerle threw 1 2/3 innings and Drachler closed it out.
“Today we got off on the wrong foot,” Kinneberg said. “But our bullpen did a nice job and put a lot of zeroes up after the third inning. On the defensive side very pleased with what we did all weekend.”
Next up for the Utes they will travel to Nevada to face the Wolf Pack on Wednesday at 2 p.m. MT before beginning Pac-12 play on the road against the Washington Huskies.