Utah Baseball Continues Hot Start


Kevin Cody

University of Utah redshirt sophomore Matthew Sox (35) 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 | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Sean Overton, Sports Editor


Utah started this season on a hot streak and looked to extend it as they faced Utah Valley University. Unfortunately, the game was postponed due to high winds in the area. But that just gave Utah more time to prepare for the Tony Gwynn Legacy, where they faced Fresno State once and San Diego State twice.

Utah pitcher Matthew Sox was only two outs away from pitching a no-hitter against Fresno State on Friday. It was just Sox’s second start as a Ute, and a promising beginning to this new season for him. Sox allowed a bloop single to get Fresno State on base, and Blake Whiting closed out Utah’s 2-1 victory over Fresno State.

Despite the game being so close, Utah was able to rack up seven total hits, compared to Fresno State’s one. Dakota Duffalo hit a solo home run, the first of his career, in the third inning to start the scoring. Carter Booth grounded out to third in the fifth inning, with Landon Frei getting home to take a 2-0 lead.

Fresno State was able to get one back in the bottom of the ninth, but it was too little too late, and the Utes went on to win 2-1 in their first game of the legacy. Utah came into the next game determined to continue their hot start. Utah played an astounding 4-0 shutout victory against San Diego State, giving them the best start for the Utes since 1981. It also marked the first shutout victory for Utah since May 24, 2019, an 8-0 victory over UC Davis.

Utah showed a strong team effort, doing great at both batting and defense. Six different Utes contributed a hit, and Alex Baeza led the team with three. It was Baeza’s first three-hit game as a Ute.

Utah opened the scoring in the fourth inning when Jayden Kiernan popped a single and allowed Chase Anderson to score on an error. Kiernan moved to third on a wild pitch, and then got home off a base hit from Baeza.

Utah’s lead jumped up to 4-0 in the fifth, when Kai Roberts sent the ball over left-center field, scoring Duffalo as well. Utah was able to close out the game from there, never allowing a runner past second base. Utah didn’t allow a hit after the third inning, guaranteeing Utah the shutout win.

San Diego State appeared to figure Utah out in the second game, opening the scoring with a run in the bottom of the third. Utah quickly rebounded with a bunt from Matt Richardson to get Anderson to second and Roberts home in the top of the fourth.

San Diego State’s scoring continued with another run in the bottom of the fourth. But Utah once again fought back to take the lead. Booth homered to left center, scoring Duffalo as well to take a 3-2 lead top of the fifth. Utah couldn’t continue their scoring lead in the sixth, leaving two men on base.

Utah couldn’t hold on in the end, as San Diego State scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh to hand the Utes a 3-4 loss in the seven-inning game. The Utes played well but San Diego State figured them out in the end. The team will need to continue to show their depth if they hope to win throughout the season.


[email protected]