Baseball: Utah baseball can’t guard late leads

By By Cody Brunner and By Cody Brunner

By Cody Brunner

The U baseball team is still searching for its first win of the season after dropping all four games it played over the weekend against UC-Davis to fall to 0-7 on the season.

Bill Kinneberg’s group came oh-so-close to notching that victory against the Aggies on Sunday. The Utes went up 10-3 on the home team after the first 3 innings. However, UC-Davis slowly chipped away at the lead and ended up getting a two-RBI single in the bottom of the 9th inning to sneak away with the win.

“That was a tough loss,” Utah second baseman Corey Shimada said. “We were looking pretty good early on, but they just kept cutting into our lead.”

Utah had another chance to pick up its first victory in the second half of a double-header on Saturday. Holding a 4-1 advantage after five-and-a-half innings, all the Utes had to do was sustain their lead. But the Aggies scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game and then took advantage of a three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth to snag the victory.

The Utes’ first two games against UC-Davis last weekend weren’t quite as close as the last two. The team lost its opener against the Aggies 12-4 on Friday, then followed with a defeating 13-5 loss in the first half of the double-header on Saturday.

“We just kept making some simple mental errors, and our pitchers weren’t throwing the way we know they can,” Shimada said. “It all just kind of erupted on us.”

Despite the difficult losses, the Utes remain encouraged about where they are at early in the season.

“We’re definitely progressing,” Shimada said. “Last weekend, we made quite a few errors on defense and we kind of shored up our problems in the field.”

Utah struggled in many areas this weekend, but one definite upside was the team’s performance at the plate as the Utes got help from a multitude of players.

On Friday, newcomer Cooper Blanc was the man, finishing 3-for-4 at the plate with a two-run double. In the first game on Saturday, Michael Beltran went 3-for-4 and Austin Jones hit a three-run homerun. In the second game on Saturday, Jesse Shriner went 3-for-5 from the plate. On Sunday, it was a team effort, with five different players recording two hits apiece.

Still, the offensive barrage wasn’t enough for the Utes to get their first win of the season. They will get another shot this week when they take off to Southern Utah for a three-game series with the Thunderbirds starting Thursday.

“We’ve got to know we can put pressure on opposing teams, and we’ve got to know we can win,” Shimada said.

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Lennie Mahler

The Utes baseball team held a lead in both games this weekend, but was unable to hold on to them, leaving the team still searching for their first win of the season.