Utah Baseball Falls Apart on the Mound, Swept by Ducks

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Kevin Cody

University of Utah graduate student Jaylon McLaughlin (10) in a NCAA Baseball game vs. Washington State at Smith’s Ballpark in Salt Lake City, Utah on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Photo by Kevin Cody | Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Justin Prather, Sports Writer

 

The University of Utah baseball team hosted the Oregon Ducks for a three-game series this weekend. Playing at Lindquist Field in Ogden, the Utes walked in confident after a great run over the past week, but limped away after a three-game shellacking.

String of Success

Coming into the series, Utah was on a four-game win streak after sweeping Northern Colorado in three games and a close midweek win against UVU. In the Wednesday night game against the Wolverines, Utah found themselves down early, giving up three runs in both the second and third innings to put the run count at 6-2 going into the fourth.

With one out in the fourth, Shea Kramer singled to left field to get the bats rolling. Chase Fernlund and Matt Richardson followed with back to back doubles to put two on the board. With two outs, Jayden Kiernan and Kai Roberts each doubled to tie up the score 6-6. Utah would not yet get the go-ahead, ending the inning adding four runs. 

UVU answered back in the fifth with three and Utah added two to stay in the fight at 9-8. After walking in the sixth, Christopher Rowan Jr. found his way home on a sacrifice fly from Kramer to again tie up the run count. Utah held the Wolverines for the rest of their at-bats and got the go-ahead run in the seventh on a single from Roberts that brought Jaylon McLaughlin home, taking the game 10-9.

Ducks Come to Utah

Utah’s good fortune ended with the Wednesday night win, however. In their first Pac-12 series since being swept by Arizona in the first weekend of May, Utah again fell in three games to the University of Oregon Ducks by a series run margin of 32-8, with the closest game being the Friday night opener that the Ducks took 7-3.

Coming into the series, Oregon had just swept the Washington Huskies in three games, allowing only four runs all weekend and hanging 22 on the Dawgs. Oregon held the top spot in the conference with a 13-6 record, followed close behind by Arizona at 15-8. After weekend sweeps from both teams, Arizona’s coming against Washington, the standings haven’t moved.

In the Utes’ first game against Oregon, they matched the Ducks at the plate with 11 hits but failed to capitalize. Utah kept the game close throughout, ending the seventh 5-3. Oregon then put two runs on the board in the ninth to go up 7-3 and Utah failed to answer.

The last two games of the series would be even worse for the Utes. Game two was a disaster at the mound for Kyle Robeniol who gave up 10 hits for eight runs in three innings pitched, his worst performance of the season with a game ERA in the twenties. Randon Hostert came in to relieve but Oregon added another five runs in the fifth, three earned, before he was pulled. In total Utah pitchers gave up 23 hits for 14 earned runs in the 16-3 loss.

Game three would be better for Utah at the mound but not at the plate. David Watson threw for four innings, allowing five hits, three for doubles, three runs and recorded only one strikeout. Matt Sox did better, allowing one run off of five hits in his three-inning appearance. Utah was on the board first with a run in the third off of a sacrifice bunt from Rykker Tom. Oregon answered in the fourth with two runs and in the fifth with five. The Ducks then held the Utes to one more run in the seventh to take the game 9-2.

Up Next

Utah will play another midweek game against BYU down in Provo. Utah is 2-1 against the Cougars this season, winning two at home and losing one 7-4 in Happy Valley after a late-game four-run rally from BYU. The first pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. MDT. The Utes then head to Seattle to take on the Washington Huskies who are dead last in the Pac-12 standings, just behind Utah, with a 3-18 conference record.

 

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