Last weekend, the University of Utah baseball team swept the USC Trojans for its second sweep of the season — the first was against Arizona on the road. Utah is now riding a four-game win streak after having taken down BYU before giving the Trojans a hard time. The Utes own a 12-12 Pac-12 record and are hoping to improve those numbers this weekend as the Utes head on the road for their final conference series against UCLA.
Utah put up a fight in their most recent three-game Pac-12 series against USC. The Utes had won the series, but to cap the sweep off in the final game — the Utes who were down by one run in the bottom of the ninth — stole the show. Wade Gulden blasted a walk-off two-run home run to give Utah the victory.
With Dallas Carroll already on second base, Gulden did exactly what needed to be done. He found the pitch he needed and made magic happen.
“Early, I thought we swung the bats really well,” said head coach Bill Kinneberg. “That is something that has been happening to us where we get a lead and then we don’t get much going after that, but again, fortunate for us, Dallas got on base in the start of the ninth. When the leadoff gets on base, it’s hard not to score that guy.”
Gulden said he was just trying to stay squared up because, during the second game of the series, he got away from himself a little bit. Gulden believed he had a nice first game, but during game two he felt like he was trying too hard. So in the last game, his goal was to stay up the middle and get nice barrels.
Gulden thinks the comebacks his team made over the weekend shows that this team is resilient.
“I had to step up and play left field, and all the guys had to step up that weren’t called upon for a lot of the year so it was fun,” Gulden said. “It just shows how deep we are. If we can finish this thing out the way we want to, we can go on a big run.”
The Utes are now focused on UCLA as the three-game series is set to begin on Friday. While the Utes are tied with Arizona and Washington for fourth in the Pac-12, the Bruins are ranked third with a 14-10 conference record. The Bruins recently fell to Washington State after dropping two of the three games, and they lost a midweek matchup to Cal State Fullerton.
For Kinneberg and his Utes, the UCLA series is extremely important. Utah knows they need to keep grinding, and with the Utes most recent weekend victory those wins could help propel them towards more success.
“Right now that is all we can ask for is momentum,” Gulden said. “We will enjoy this [Monday night] and a little bit [on Tuesday], but we just got to keep playing Utah baseball so that’s picking each other up. It’s exciting to see what we can do.”
Friday and Saturday’s first pitch is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. MT followed by Sunday’s game at 2 p.m. MT.