Utah Baseball Goes 2-1 in Conference Play vs Washington

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Kevin Cody

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, March 11, 2021. (Photo by Kevin Cody | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Sean Overton, Sports Writer

 

University of Utah baseball (11-3-1) started the week off against Fresno State in their second matchup of the season. Fresno State got off to an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. But Utah was determined to sweep the Bulldogs this season.

Landon Frei was the highlight of the second inning for the Utes, hitting a grand slam to highlight a five-run inning. It was Frei’s first career grand slam and was enough to lift the Utes over the Bulldogs.

Fresno State got runs in both the fourth and fifth as Utah was unable to score. Blake Whiting entered the game in the eighth, with Fresno State in a scoring position with no outs. He got a flyout on the first batter and then back-to-back strikeouts. He closed the game as the Utes won 5-4.

Utah then headed home to face Washington for a three-game stretch that would include a doubleheader on the first day.

Matthew Sox got off to a hot start pitching for the Utes, retiring 15 in a row and totaling nine strikeouts in his seven-inning start. Utah led 2-1 after the first inning, and 3-2 after the fifth. Washington got one in the seventh that would tie the game 3-3.

The game would go into the tenth inning, where Utah was unable to keep up with Washington. The Huskies got three runs in the top of the tenth, and Utah was unable to score as they lost 3-6.

Utah came back later that day determined to grab their first conference win of the season. But Washington was also determined to win again, and they got off to a hot start. Washington scored five runs in the first inning, putting Utah in a very difficult spot.

But the Utes remained unfazed, and soon evened the score at 5-5 with five of their own in the fourth inning. Washington had one in the fifth, but the Utes quickly responded. Utah scored two in the fifth that would end the scoring 7-6 for the Utes.

Chase Anderson doubled down the left-field line to start the fifth. Both TJ Clarkson and Alex Baeza were walked to load the bases for the Utes. Matt Richardson was hit by a pitch that would even the scoring.

The bases were still loaded, and Davis Cop hit a sacrifice fly that would score Clarkson and give Utah the 7-6 win.

But Utah wasn’t finished with their week yet. They had one more game against Washington, and were determined to start conference play with a positive record.

Cop started the game by singling to left field, scoring both Clarkson and Anderson in the first. Booth then flied out to center field and scored Richardson in the fourth. Washington got one back in the fifth but the Utes were able to hold them off for the 3-1 victory.

Utah is 2-1 in Pac-12 play, with their next conference games at Oregon from March 18-20. Utah’s next game will be another home game against BYU. Utah took their last matchup 11-5, and they look for another win on March 15.

 

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@SeanOverton3