Utah Baseball Starts Season Strong Against LMU


Kevin Cody

University of Utah’s Kai Roberts (27) bats vs. Washington State at Smith’s Ballpark in Salt Lake City, Utah on April 10, 2021. (Photo by Kevin Cody | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Sean Overton, Sports Editor


The University of Utah baseball team headed to Los Angeles for a three-game series against Loyola Marymount. Utah went a disappointing 17-33 last season, but looks to turn it around this year with new head coach Gary Henderson.

In the first game, LMU went up 1-0 in the first inning, but Utah quickly gained traction in the second. Left fielder Kai Roberts hit his first career grand slam and the Utes ended the inning up 5-1.

Utah kept going in the third inning, with Carter Booth hitting a triple, getting Jackson Clemett and Jonny Barditch home to take a 7-1 lead. LMU added three runs in the fifth, and an unearned run in the sixth to cut the lead to 7-5.

Chase Anderson ended the scoring for the Utes in the eighth as the game ended 8-5. This was Utah’s first season-opening win since 2015. Zac McCleve pitched the final 2.2 innings for the Utes, allowing no runs.

Utah’s hot streak continued over into the second game, with them gaining a quick 7-0 lead in the top of the second inning. LMU quickly countered Utah’s hot second inning with their own five runs in the bottom of the second.

Bryson Van Sickle was brought in late in the second, stopping LMU from tallying any more runs in the inning. Van Sickle only allowed one earned run in four innings pitched, an astounding 2.25 ERA.

Anderson recorded his first three-hit game as a Ute. Anderson went 3-5 with two RBI and three runs. Alex Baeza also recorded a fantastic game, going 2-for-4 with a walk, RBI and two runs.

Utah showed their versatility in quickly regaining control of an inning that was sliding away from them. Although the team took an early lead, they showed depth and resilience in stopping LMU’s hot streak in the second inning.

Utah once again got off to a hot start in the third game with Anderson hitting a single up the middle to get Booth to the plate. Unfortunately the Utes were unable to completely capitalize as they left three men on base during the first inning. Landon Frei highlighted the second inning, hitting a home run to left field to put the Utes up 2-0.

LMU soon gained traction as they got four runs in the bottom of the third inning to put the Utes down 3-4. Utah tallied one in the fourth to bring the score even and kept the momentum through the fifth, adding another three.

Utah gave up an unfortunate five runs in the bottom of the sixth, going down 7-9. But Utah’s hot start to the season wouldn’t be over quite yet, as Booth and Frei got to the plate off of a single from Roberts.

The teams would go on to play an extra tenth inning before letting the game finish in a 9-9 tie. This is Utah’s hottest start to the season since joining the Pac-12 in 2012. With such great momentum behind them, Utah looks to keep the ball rolling in a quick trip down south to Utah Valley University.

The two teams have played each other 51 times, with Utah walking away with 30 wins. Their last matchup was a 10-9 victory for the Utes last year. The game will be played in Orem at UCCU Ballpark and is scheduled for 4 p.m. MST on Tuesday, Feb. 22.


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