Utes defeat Gonzaga 9-7

By Bubba Brown, Staff Writer

Sparked by an outstanding performance from the top of their lineup, the Utes knocked off the third-seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs and earned the right to a rematch with Cal State Fullerton for the Regional championship.

The Utes’ 1-4 hitters combined for 12 hits and seven RBIs for the game, and keyed a crucial three-run sixth inning that gave Utah the breathing room to absorb a late rally by the Bulldogs.

For the first time in the tournament, Utah was able to strike first, when in the third inning back-to-back RBI singles by Nick Kuroczko and C.J. Cron gave the Utes a 2-0 lead.

After the Bulldogs touched up Utah starter Bryn Card for three runs in the bottom of the inning, Utah answered with two more runs. A throwing error by Nick Kuroczko allowed Gonzaga to tie the game in the bottom of the fourth, but Utah again answered with a single run in the top of the fifth when C.J. Cron doubled in Tyler Yagi to put the Utes up for good.

Utah tacked on three runs in the sixth, highlighted by a Kuroczko two-run triple, and a single run in the seventh to take a 9-4 lead.

The Bulldogs refused to go quietly, scoring a run in the bottom of the seventh and two in the eighth to narrow the deficit to two runs. With two out in the bottom of the ninth, the Bulldogs rallied to put the tying run on base. Utah reliever Greg Krause fielded a ground ball to third base to end the game and send the Utes to the championship of the Fullerton Regional.

With the victory, Utah advances to face Cal State Fullerton in a rematch of the opening game, in which the Utes fell 18-2. To advance to the next round of tournament play, Utah must defeat Fullerton tonight, and once again on Monday.

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