U baseball upsets UCLA for first win of the year

The U baseball team not only got its first win of the season over the weekend, but it also got its first series sweep-well, sort of.

Going into the weekend series against UCLA, the Utes (1-6) were outmatched on paper in every facet of the game. When game time came around, things couldn’t have gone any different as the Utes took the first game of the series 7-4 and won their first game of the season.

There weren’t second or third games in the series due to inclement weather. As a result, the schedule was changed for the Utes, and so they played Loyola Marymount instead of UCLA on Sunday. That game, however, was rained out in the second inning and the Utes finished the weekend with one win and three canceled games.

It took extra innings for the Utes to beat the Bruins, but the best performance of the season came before the extra frames, as Jason Price only allowed three runs in seven innings against a very potent UCLA lineup.

The Utes came out of the gate with a run, as Doug Beck drove home Ryan Khoury to give the Utes a 1-0 advantage. The Bruins quickly answered after Eric Taylor got a triple and then scored on a grounder to tie the game at one.

Price was on cruise control for another three innings when he got some insurance, as the Utes came through with a two-run fourth inning, which gave Utah a 3-1 advantage. Price didn’t allow a run until the seventh inning, where the Bruins picked up a run.

The eighth seemed like a disastrous inning for the Utes, but they plugged up the holes and got out of it. After a leadoff walk, U coach Bill Kinneberg took out Price and brought in reliever Josh Cooper. Cooper allowed two runs in the inning, but only one was earned and the Utes were down one run headed into the ninth inning and it seemed like yet another game was going to slip away from the Utes.

Throughout the season, the Utes have had defensive issues and errors in the worst possible situations, but in this game the Utes took advantage of a costly error.

With runners on the corners, Ryan Khoury hit the ball on the ground to the third baseman Taylor, who made a throwing error, which allowed the game- tying run to score.

Cooper made quick work of the Bruins in the ninth inning, but the Utes couldn’t take advantage in the top of the 10th. Utah got a runner on first base, but that was it and the Bruins had a chance to win the game in the bottom of the 10th.

Kinneberg took out Cooper in favor of junior Brian Lane, who had an amazing outing.

Lane took the Bruins’ batters out in order in the 10th and gave the Utes a chance in the 11th-the Utes took advantage.

Utah started off the inning with two consecutive hits by John Welsh and Joe Mozelski. After a sacrifice fly by Khoury scored a run, another scoring error allowed the Utes to put up another run, giving them a two-run advantage.

Mozelski scored to give the Utes a three-run advantage on a single by second baseman Tyler Kmetko.

Lane only allowed one hit in the 11th and stranded two runners to end the game.

“It was a team effort tonight,” Kinneberg said. “A lot of guys played. We played some pretty solid baseball. We had a couple mistakes, but we overcame them. We got a good scoring opportunity in the 11th and took advantage of it.”

The Utes will head back to Los Angeles this weekend to face Loyola Marymount in a three-game series.

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