Utah Baseball Loses Series, Wins Game Two at Stanford

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University of Utah redshirt junior Vinny Zavolta(6) in a NCAA Baseball game vs. BYU at Smith’s Ballpark in Salt Lake City, Utah on Thursday, Mar. 11, 2021. (Photo by Kevin Cody | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By J. Prather

 

University of Utah baseball went on the road for their Pac-12 conference opening series against the Stanford Cardinal. The Utes would ultimately lose the series in a close third game in which Stanford shut out Utah for the last five innings. It’s not all bad for Utah, who came away with a win over one of the best ball teams in the conference. In conference play, Utah opens the ranks at ninth and moves to 4-10 overall on the season.

In the first game, Utah would not have a hit until the sixth inning when Vinny Zavolta led off and cranked one over the left field wall. Matt Richardson followed with a single and later stole second. Jayden Kiernan singled and stole second after advancing Richardson to third. On a wild pitch, Richardson came across the plate with Utah ending the inning up 2-1.

Justin Kelly started on the mound for game one and in seven innings pitched allowed seven hits for two runs and a strikeout. Kelly staved off enough runs in the loss to improve his season ERA, moving to 3.86. Ian MacIver came in to start the eighth in his first appearance since Utah went on the road against ASU and only faced three batters before being pulled. Those three batters resulted in two hits and two runs for Stanford before Dustyn Schramm was called in to finish the inning and the game. However, the damage had been done and Stanford would go on to win the opener 4-2.

In the second game, Stanford went up early on Kyle Robeniol who split duty on the mound with Randon Hostert. Utah answered an inning later in the fourth. After loading the bases, Shea Kramer tripled to left center, bringing in three RBIs before joining them on a single from Richardson to go up 4-2. Stanford would tie it up in the sixth but Utah answered again in the seventh and eighth and ultimately took the game 8-4. Robeniol repeated his performance from his game against BYU. While he allowed three runs on seven hits he also retired six Cardinal batters in his four innings pitched.

In the third game Utah matched Stanford’s third inning run with one in the fourth. Stanford put three more up and shut out the Utes from the fifth inning on to win and take the series. While Utah took home more losses than wins from the beginning of conference play they did make a statement. Utah can win against a consistently ranked in-conference baseball team if they can maintain offensive efficiency. 

Utah has a busy schedule ahead of them this week, facing Dixie State (4-12) on Tuesday, March 23 followed by resumed conference play against the Cal Golden Bears (12-7) Friday, March 26 to Sunday, March 28. All games will be played at home at Smith’s Ballpark.

 

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