Bat men: Baseball dominates Air Force in weekend sweep

U baseball coach Bill Kinneberg didn’t know what was wrong with his offense. Inconsistent hitting and long stretches without scoring had plagued the Ute bats all season.

Not anymore.

The Ute offense was outstanding in the three-game series against Air Force over the weekend. The sweep marked the first series win over a conference opponent for the Utes this season.

Utah scored 62 runs in the three-game sweep of the Falcons, with 54 of those runs coming in the final two games.

Game scores were 8-5, 22-3 and 32-4. The final two games were played as part of a doubleheader Saturday night due to weather concerns that could postpone the game Sunday.

The first game was the only close game of the series and the Falcons seemed to have control in the middle of the game. Winning 5-4, the Falcons had the lead heading into the final three innings, but then the Ute bats came alive.

Following a sacrifice fly that scored a run to tie the game, Clayne Garret hit a two-run homerun for the Utes, which gave the team a 7-5 lead.

The Utes added an insurance run in the eighth inning, and Ute reliever Josh Cooper took it from there.

Cooper pitched three shutout innings and got the save, while Steve Collora earned the win. Jason Price was the starter and pitched close to six innings, giving up five runs, four of them earned.

Game two was an absolute beating. While the Ute offense was scoring in just about every inning, starting pitcher Matt Crockett did a great job of keeping the Falcon bats at bay.

Crockett shut out the Falcons through the first three innings. Leading 1-0, the Utes blew up in four consecutive innings, beginning in the third.

The Utes scored three runs in the third, two in the fourth, four in the fourth and six runs in the sixth inning to give the Utes a 16-2 lead. After giving up two runs in the fourth inning, Crockett didn’t allow another run and was taken out after the seventh inning. The Utes added six more runs in the final inning to win the game 22-3.

Third baseman Jay Borrsman led the Ute hitters with six RBI and Crockett earned the win taking him to 3-6 on the year.

In the final game of the series, the Utes broke a conference record with 32 runs and 34 hits.

Air Force starting pitcher John Meyers did not get a single out before being pulled in the first inning. Meyers gave up five runs in the first, and the Utes came out of the first inning with a 6-0 lead. That would be all the runs the Utes would need, since the Ute pitching did very well, only allowing four runs.

Starting pitcher Chad Cullers, who is still recovering from an injury, pitched three shutout innings.

While Cullers was in the game, the Ute offense scored another two runs in the second and then two more in the third.

After Cullers’ departure, the Ute offense scored one run in the fourth and then seven runs in the fifth inning.

Collora came in for Cullers in the fourth inning and did not do well at all. Collora didn’t record a single out and gave up three runs. Kinneberg pulled him in favor of Brian Lane, who got out of the frame and pitched four solid innings.

The Ute offense didn’t score in the sixth inning, scored one in the seventh and then none in the eighth. In the ninth, the Utes put up more runs that the Falcons did in the entire series.

A 13-run ninth inning put a stamp on the series. Lane earned the win, while Meyers got the loss.

The Utes are now 11-19 overall and 4-8 in conference play, while the Falcons are 5-23 overall and still winless in conference at 0-9.

The Utes will head to Orem Tuesday to play UVSC and will then host San Diego State for the weekend series.

[email protected]