Baseball: Utes Win First Pac-12 Home Series

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Ute Hunter Simmons hits the ball during the Utes 1-11 loss against the Oregon Ducks at Smiths Ballpark in Salt Lake City, Utah on Friday, Mar. 31, 2017. (Rishi Deka, Daily Utah Chronicle)

It was a big weekend at home for the University of Utah baseball team (12-13, 3-6 Pac-12) as it won its Pac-12 home opener series against Oregon (17-8, 5-4 Pac-12). The Utes went 2-1 over the weekend. Game one of the series was scheduled for Thursday, but it was rained out and played on Sunday. The first two games of the series were played on Friday and Saturday.

Friday night the Ducks blew past the Utes cruising to an 11-1 victory behind a strong 10 run sixth inning. An RBI single off the bat of DaShawn Keirsey Jr. scored Oliver Dunn in the third, but that was all the Utah offense was able to put up all night. A triple for Oregon led off the top of the sixth before mayhem took place on the field. The Ducks had seven hits alone in that inning before getting two more hits and a run in the eighth to cap off the scoring.

Jayson Rose fell to 3-2 on the season after earning the loss. Rose pitched 5 2/3 innings allowing 10 runs on seven hits with three walks and four strikeouts. Josh Tedeschi threw 2 1/3 innings allowing one run on four hits with two walks. Trenton Stoltz saw time on the mound as he threw the final inning.

In game two on Saturday the Utes owned the diamond.

“I think the Friday game really stung us,” said senior Wade Gulden. “We just battled in Saturday’s game. We weren’t going to lose that game.”

To start things off, Dunn walked before Dallas Carroll singled through the left side. A throwing error by the pitcher in a failed pickoff attempt lead to Carroll advancing to second and Dunn to third base. Dunn quickly scored on a wild pitch to give the Utes their first run of the game, down 3-1.

With bases loaded for Oregon in the fifth, a couple of walks led to a couple of runs as the Ducks took a 5-1 lead. Ellis Kelly got a base hit in the bottom of the fifth before Keirsey Jr. singled to put him and Kelly on the corners. Dunn reached on a fielder’s choice to send in Kelly while Keirsey Jr. was called out at second. Carroll singled to advance Dunn before Hunter Simmons flied out leading to Dunn scoring to put the Utes within two.

In the seventh, Carroll doubled and Simmons hit an RBI-single to score Carroll as the Utes came within one run to tie the game. Gulden stepped up to the plate with a hot bat, and he blasted a two-run home run to right field to give Utah a 6-5 lead. RBI triples were the story of the eighth inning. Chandler Anderson was hit by a pitch to take first base before Kelly hit an RBI triple to put Utah up 7-5. An RBI triple off the bat of Keirsey Jr. helped him score on a wild pitch before an RBI triple from Carroll batted in Dunn, who was previously walked. Carroll scored before the inning ended as the Utes ran away with the game, taking a much needed 11-5 win.

Riley Ottesen earned the win on the mound after pitching eight innings allowing five runs on five hits with five strikeouts and four walks.

A three-hour rain delay took place before the final game of the series was played on Sunday where the Utes cruised to a 13-1 victory.

In the bottom of the first the Utes busted out a 3-0 lead after an RBI double from Carroll and RBI singles from Simmons and Gulden, and they never looked back. Oregon replaced their starter on the mound after two balks that the Utes were able to take advantage of. In the second, Keirsey Jr. blasted a two-run home run to put Utah up 5-0. The bats stayed hot for the Utes as Zack Moeller doubled before advancing on a passed ball and scoring thanks to a sacrifice fly from Foscalina to continue a lead of 6-0. The Ducks got one run on the board in the top of the seventh on an RBI triple.

The seventh inning was a big one for the Utes who drove in six runs, and they took a 12-1 lead. Foscalina scored on a wild pitch before Utah loaded the bases and capitalized by driving in run after run. Carroll hit an RBI single in the eighth and the Utes took the final game of the series in a blowout fashion, 13-1.

Earning the win was Josh Lapiana who pitched eight innings allowing one run on six hits with nine strikeouts, which gave him a career-high.

“I was very proud of the way they bounced back yesterday and today after a tough loss on Friday,” said head coach Bill Kinneberg. “We had one inning where it got away from us, but [we] really played 26 really good innings this weekend.”

Next up for the Utes they will travel to Corvallis, Ore. to take on the number one team in the country, the Oregon State Beavers, beginning on Friday.

b.colindres@dailyutahchronicle.com

@Britt_Colindres

Brittni Colindres
Brittni Colindres is in her first year with The Daily Utah Chronicle where she began as a sports writer and now serves as the sports editor. She has interned at ABC 4 Utah in the sports department, and she was previously the Editor-in-Chief of The Globe at Salt Lake Community College. Currently, she is a producer at ESPN 700 radio.

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