Although the University of Utah baseball team had to put up a fight until the very end, the Utes were able to sweep USC in a three-game series over the weekend.
“I’ll take three wins anytime,” said head coach Bill Kinneberg. “No matter how it goes, great wins for us. Comeback wins [Saturday and Sunday], which shows me a little grit and determination, so it was an awesome to finish off the series [on Monday].”
In the second inning of the series opener, Wade Gulden got Utah on the board first. Gulden singled before advancing to second on a balk. Gulden made it to third after Oliver Dunn hit an infield single, but it was Ellis Kelly who hit a sacrifice fly that gave Gulden the opportunity to run home.
The Utes extended their lead by putting up two more runs in the third. Chandler Anderson singled before stealing second with Dallas Carroll up to bat. An RBI single from Hunter Simmons scored Anderson. Zack Moeller reached on a fielder’s choice, and while Simmons got out at second, Moeller followed with another run after a triple from Gulden.
The last run of the game from Utah came in the sixth inning from Gulden. After walking, Gulden stole second before advancing to third on an error. A ground ball from Dunn allowed Gulden to run home. USC put up a run in the seventh and eighth innings, but the Utes walked away with a 4-2 victory.
In the second game, the Trojans took the lead in the first inning with two runs before extending their lead in the third with three more runs. The Utes managed to get two runs on the board in the third when Anderson and Carroll singled, and Moeller hit a two-RBI double. An RBI double from DaShawn Keirsey, Jr. scored Josh Rose in the fourth, but the Utes continued to trail the Trojans for the majority of the game. It wasn’t until the eighth inning when the Utes would take the lead. Max Schuman walked before Connor McNally came in to pinch run for him. McNally made it to second on a single, third on a balk and home on a wild pitch.
Anderson followed McNally’s example and scored on a wild pitch to give his team the lead, but it was Carroll’s run that sealed the deal for the Utes. Carroll was intentionally walked, stole second, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly from Moeller. The Utes walked away with 9-7 win over the Trojans.
The Utes tried to keep the upper hand in the last game of the series as they took the lead at the beginning, but the Trojans took control in the fourth by taking a one run lead. Both teams remained scoreless the rest of the night until Utah made some noise in the ninth. The first run was scored in the second inning when Moeller first doubled to center field and then ran home on an RBI double from Gulden. The Utes put up two more runs in this inning that included a home run from Rose and an RBI single from Carroll.
Both the Utes and the Trojans got a run on each other in the third inning, but in the top of the fourth, the Utes gave up four runs to the Trojans. Utah had its final chance in the bottom of the ninth to sweep the series. The Utes scored two runs after Gulden hit a two-run walk off home run to give Utah a 6-5 victory.
“I was just trying to get my pitch,” Gulden said. “I was just trying to have a good at-bat there, not thinking a home run by any means, but trying to get something.”
Utah will hit the road for its final regular season road game against the UCLA Bruins. The three-game series starts on Friday, May 19. First pitch is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. MT followed by Saturday and Sunday’s games at 3 p.m MT and 2 p.m. MT, respectively.