The Utes began the week by making the six-hour trek down to Las Vegas to take on the Rebels of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV).
Brett Brocoff, Utah’s starting pitcher, made his hometown pitching debut after graduating from Desert Oasis High School in Las Vegas in 2017. Brocoff finished with a good performance, throwing a six-inning no decision, giving up two earned runs on five hits and two strikeouts.
Utah got the bats going early as the Utes jumped out to a 5-0 first inning lead. The first two runs came off of a Christian Almanza single up the middle with the bases loaded, scoring Erick Migueles and Oliver Dunn. The next batter was Isaac Cruz who doubled down the right field line bringing Shea Kramer home and moving the Utes lead to 3-0. Chandler Anderson singled to left field scoring Cruz and Almanza to wrap up the explosive first inning for the Utes.
The Rebels got their first run of the game in the bottom of the second inning when third baseman Duke Pahukoa hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Edarian Williams. UNLV scored again in the third inning off of a Williams single to center field, bringing home Dillon Johnson.
Dunn brought his power to the plate when the Utah second baseman homered down the right-field line with two outs in the fourth inning to bring the score to 6-2. This is Dunn’s first home run of the season and the Utes first home run of the year.
Bryson Stott homered for UNLV to begin a major comeback for the Rebels in the seventh inning.
The eighth inning is where the bats came alive for UNLV — they showed lots of fight in the midst of being down by three runs late in the game. Max Smith doubled to left field bringing home Jack-Thomas Wold before Grant Robbins tripled, bringing in two more runs to tie the game 6-6.
The Rebels weren’t finished there as they took the lead on a Pahukoa sacrifice fly which brought a runner home to take the lead against the Utes going into the final inning.
The Rebels’ rally lit a fire under Utah as the Utes came out ready to swing the bats in the ninth. With two on and no outs, Zack Moeller singled down the right field line, which allowed Dunn and Dominic Foscalina to score and regain the lead. Almanza was intentionally walked two batters later, loading the bases for Cruz. Cruz was hit by a pitch, scoring Moeller and moving the Utes’ lead to two.
The next batter was Utah center fielder Anderson, who singled up the middle — bringing home Migueles and Briley Knight (who was pinch running for Almanza). After Cruz was picked off trying to take home for the second out, Chase Fernlund singled, bringing home Anderson to put the Utes ahead 12-7.
Dunn walked to load the bases as Moeller stepped to the plate for the second time in the inning. On a 1-0 pitch, Moeller leveled the ball to straightaway center field for Utah’s first Grand Slam of the year, capping off a 10-run ninth inning for the Utes.
Utah went on to beat UNLV 16-7 — a high-scoring baseball game which sets both teams up offensively for their weekend matchups.
Utah will head to Greenville, North Carolina this weekend where the Utes will take on East Carolina at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, Western Carolina at 10 a.m. on Saturday and Wright State at 9 a.m. on Sunday.