Utah Baseball Takes 1 of 4 Against San Francisco


Kevin Cody

University of Utah redshirt junior Vinny Zavolta(6) 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 Isaac Dunaway, Sports Writer


The University of Utah baseball team opened their season in San Francisco, California this past weekend. After a thrilling 11-9 opening victory, the Utes lost the next three to the Dons. This was the first meeting between the two schools since 1999.

The opening of the season marks former Kentucky and Mississippi State head coach Gary Henderson’s second season in charge of the Utes. Henderson was associate head coach under Bill Kinneberg and was promoted to head coach after Kinneberg’s retirement.

The first game of the series got off to an electric start. Utah put eight runs on the board in the first inning alone. Redshirt freshman outfielder Elijha Hammill, making his Utah debut, knocked in two runs on a single. He followed this up with a two-run homer in the third to make it a 10-0 lead.

The Utes ended up needing every bit of this hot start, as San Francisco put up nine runs of their own in the following innings. Redshirt senior right-hander Zac McCleve entered the game in the ninth inning and held off the Dons’ rally. Sophomore Cam Day struck out eight batters and recorded the win.

“Really pleased with Cam Day in the start. Outstanding job, eight strikeouts, one walk, it was outstanding overall. The pitching staff did a great job,” said Utah head coach Gary Henderson after the game. “I thought our poise early on and our patience early on was really good. Landon [Frei] with three hits, Elijha with four … really pleased with that.”

Utah fell 3-1 to San Francisco on Saturday afternoon. Redshirt junior Randon Hostert got the start for the Utes. He struck out seven batters and gave up two runs in his five innings of work.

Unfortunately, the Utes couldn’t recapture their magic on offense from Friday’s game. Utah scored just one run on a two out rally in the sixth. Redshirt junior first baseman TJ Clarkson and redshirt sophomore outfielder Dakota Duffalo doubled back to back, putting the Utes on the board.

On Sunday, the Dons won 6-2 over the Utes. Again, Utah got on the board in the sixth inning. Clarkson recorded his first RBI of the season, driving in junior outfielder Kai Roberts on a sacrifice fly. Hammill scored in the ninth inning as well as on an RBI double from third baseman Jake Gish.

Sophomore righty Jaden Harris got the start for Utah. He gave up two runs in 4.2 innings. Salt Lake Community College transfer Ernesto Lugo-Canchola relieved Harris and struck out three batters. Utah catcher Cameron Gurney made his debut on Sunday. He went three for three in the effort.

The series finale was on Presidents’ Day, with the Utes falling 3-0. Utah got four hits in total from Karson Bodily, Davis Cop, Gish and Gurney. 

San Francisco jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning off of a double that drove in two runs. The Dons managed to keep their lead the rest of the way and scored another run in the sixth inning off of a wild pitch from Merit Jones.

Redshirt junior LHP Bryson Van Sickle made the start in his season debut. He pitched five innings and struck out five batters. He also gave up two runs and two walks.

Next up for Utah is the Kleberg Bank College Classic at Whataburger Field in Corpus Christi, Texas this weekend. The Utes will take on Houston on Friday, Incarnate Word on Saturday and the hometown Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Sunday and Monday.


[email protected]