Utah Baseball Drops Midweek Game Against Dixie State


University of Utah redshirt sophomore Matthew Sox(35) 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


The University of Utah baseball team got back to work in a single game matchup against Dixie State just two days after coming back from Stanford. Utah comes off 1-2 series loss in their trip to California, with a 4-10 overall record. Meanwhile, Dixie State is 2-2 in their last series against the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Trailblazer baseball is 3-5 in conference and 4-12 overall.

Dixie State got to work early, scoring runs in the first and third innings. Matt Sox came in to pitch for Brett Brocoff in the fourth inning and added two walks to load the bases for Dixie. Utah’s quick fielding saved a run at home. Sox faced Dixie’s third batter, Kayden Hollow next, and the count got up to 2-2 before Hollow connected for a grand slam, putting the Trailblazers up 6-0.

Dixie State added two more before Utah got their bats rolling in the sixth. Jayden Kiernan and Kai Roberts walked. Kiernan was thrown out at second trying for third on a pop fly. Brock Rudy homered to right field to score Roberts and put the Utes on the board 8-2. Utah matched Dixie with a run in the seventh, but even with loaded bases couldn’t close the gap. 

The eighth inning was big for the Utes. After Shutting out the Trailblazers, Utah put runners on with two outs and began to take bases where they could get them. Singles from Kayler Yates, Kiernan and Roberts brought in four runs in the inning and put Utah within two going into the ninth.

Vinny Zavolta started off getting on base on an error. After getting hit by a pitch called a foul, Matt Richardson doubled, sending Zavolta to third. With the tying runs on, Tyler Thompson came in to pinch hit for Yates but grounded out to end the game 9-7. The cold weather conditions may have caused Umpire Jason Roger’s strike zone to grow a bit. Inside pitches from Dixie saw a few generous strike calls that could have changed the outcome. Notably, The Utes would go through six pitchers in the mid-week game to explore options going forward in the season.

Utah will now resume Pac-12 play this Friday, weather permitting, against the University of California Golden Bears, playing at home at Smith’s Ballpark. Cal is 12-7 on the season but has yet to face a conference opponent. As a team, Cal is batting .260, .372 slugging and finding the bags at .349.  

The Golden Bears outmatch Utah in these categories, but not by much. If Justin Kelly can maintain composure and command on the mound come Friday night and the Utes find their bats earlier than they did against Dixie, this series is winnable. First pitch is scheduled for Friday, March 26, at 5:00 p.m. MST.


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