Utes on edge, need win over SUU

By Marco Villano, Staff Writer

Utah isn’t on the right track.

After winning four straight games two weeks ago, including two wins against Southern Utah, which it plays tonight, the Utah baseball team has started to spiral toward a potential crash and burn this season. Utah has lost its past six games, and the past three in extra innings against offensive powerhouse New Mexico.

The Utes are hanging on the edge and a win against the Thunderbirds would allow them to take a few steps back and breathe a bit. Following that single game in Cedar City is a conference series against in-state rival BYU. A win against SUU could provide momentum heading into that series.

Even though Utah dropped three straight games to the Lobos, all wasn’t bad for the team. The Utes gave three good games to one of the conference’s best teams, and the starting pitching showed their true colors against a great offensive team.

Brian Budrow pitched seven strong innings and only gave up one run. With the decision left on the coaches’ shoulders to pull him or not, they decided to leave him in and he gave up three runs in the top of the eighth inning.

Andrew Wilding pitched seven innings in the second game of the series and only gave up three runs. He would have picked up the win, but New Mexico had a scoring flurry in the ninth inning to make it a game.

Jordan Whatcott closed out the series against the Lobos and was lights out on the bump. He pitched six innings, gave up only two runs and had six strikeouts. The offense didn’t provide the run support, resulting in a no decision for him as well.

The starting lineup has been solid all season, and the Utes stepped up in their biggest series since Texas A&M. The rest of the team did as well, and it could have gone either way, but it was all a reflection of the starting pitching.

Out of Utah’s six straight losses, four have been in extra innings. After the game against New Mexico, Whatcott said, “It’s baseball, that’s how it goes.”

Hopefully it doesn’t continue to go that way or the Utes could see themselves missing the Mountain West Conference Tournament. As of right now, they are only a game ahead of Air Force for the final spot in the tournament. With four teams getting national attention in the conference, wins could be hard to come by down the stretch.

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Tyler Cobb

Utah pitcher Tyler Andersen and the Utes look to get their season back on track tonight against SUU. The Utes beat the Thunderbirds two weeks ago and hope that strong pitching will contribute to a win.