Baseball Only Splits Versus Mesa

By and

After a close and emotional loss to BYU last weekend, it was almost to be expected that the U baseball team might have been a little drained for the midweek doubleheader against the Mesa State Mavericks, but what happened in the ninth inning of the first game was inexcusable.

Utah (21-17) was not able to hold on to a 7-4 lead in the top of the ninth, and allowed Mesa State to come back and win the game 8-7. However, the Utes bounced back in Game 2, behind a superb effort by freshman pitcher Doug Mackay, and defeated the Mavericks in a seven-inning game, 4-2.

“When we lose to a team that has a lesser talent level than us, it means that our minds were somewhere else in Game 1,” said U baseball coach Tim Esmay.

Going into the ninth with a 7 4 lead, and blowing it would infuriate any coach. Sophomore pitcher Sean Overholt took the hill in the ninth, only to allow one hit and walk two batters to load the bases.

Esmay replaced Overholt with Brady Martinez, and the first batter he faced hit a gapper into left center and cleared the bases to tie the game at 7.

After another hit, Martinez was in a tight jam, as there were runners at the corners with two outs, and a bad play by first baseman Jake Jordison on a failed pickoff attempt resulted in the runner at third crossing home plate for the game-winning run.

“It is really frustrating to see all that happen before your eyes, but at least we were able to come back and win Game 2,” Esmay said.

Mackay took the hill in the back end of the double-dip and would not leave until the game was over. The game was shortened to seven innings, as are all second games of doubleheaders in college baseball.

Mackay pitched a complete game, but it didn’t come easy for him.

“It looked like he didn’t have all of his control, since he was so streaky, because he would get one guy out and then walk the next, but there was something in him that allowed him to finish the game,” Esmay said.

In his 7 innings of work, Mackay struck out 5 batters and walked 4, earning his second win of the season.

The Utes got all four of their runs in the first inning, as Brit Pannier had a two-run single and Jed Chrisman also hit a two-run single.

Mesa State looked to be getting back into the game in the fourth and fifth innings, when they scored a run in each, but Esmay stuck with Mackay.

“I was thinking about taking Doug out, but I knew he wanted to stay in the game, and I felt that he could get the job done, so I let him stay in the game, and he got it done for us,” Esmay said.

The Utes will continue conference play this weekend as they host Air Force in a doubleheader on Friday, and then the finale of the series will take place on Saturday.

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