Utah Baseball Falls Short of Three in Kleberg Bank College Classic

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Kevin Cody

University of Utah freshman Kai Roberts (27) in an 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 Abbey Thomas, Assistant Sports Editor

 

In a visit down to Texas this past weekend, the University of Utah baseball team participated in the Kleberg Bank College Classic, competing in a total of three matchups. Hosted this year by Texas A&M – Corpus Christi, the Classic is an annual event that brings together different baseball teams from across the country to play a weekend of friendlies. This year, aside from playing the hosts themselves, the Utes faced off against the University of Houston and the University of the Incarnate Word.

University of Houston

Looking to turn their luck around from their tough weekend in San Francisco, the Utes started the series against Houston on Friday. The Cougars nabbed an early lead with eight runs in the first four innings, with Utah lagging behind with only two at the bottom of the fourth. The Utes wouldn’t make it past third base until the eighth inning, when the team grinded out three runs to bring the day’s total to a respectable five runs. Unfortunately, Houston reached home plate six more times by the top of the ninth, handing the Utes a tough 14-5 loss to start the weekend.

University of the Incarnate Word

On Saturday, the Utes certainly flipped the script and gave a dominating performance against the Cardinals. The first five innings went scoreless for Utah, with Incarnate Word hitting five runs between the third and the fourth. Once the sixth inning hit, however, the Utes jumped into action — infielder Bruer Webster was the first to score, before outfielder TJ Clarkson sent a homer, allowing himself and fellow outfielder Kai Roberts to grab another two. The Utes managed to grab another eight runs between the eighth and ninth innings, taking a solid victory over the Cardinals 13-6.

Elijha Hammill (#14) led the team in hits, with a total of three; along with Hammill, Cameron Gurney (#18), Matt Flaharty (#2), and Dakota Duffalo (#21) all tied for runs with 2 apiece.

Texas A&M – Corpus Christi

To round out the College Classic on Sunday, the Utes played a close game against the Islanders to barely edge out a win. Both teams had claimed at least three runs each by the fifth inning, with Texas putting up much more of a fight than what Utah had faced so far. Each subsequent inning saw a matter of tug-of-war, with each team seemingly taking turns getting across home plate. At the top of the eighth, Duffalo scored on an error to pull Utah up to seven runs, while the Islanders couldn’t squeak past six, ultimately handing Utah the win.

On Monday, Utah made a return trip to Corpus Christi for one final match outside of the College Classic. For a second time this weekend, Utah remained scoreless until the sixth inning, when Clarkson nailed another homer, sending himself and Webster across the plate. This match, Clarkson led the team in both runs and hits, claiming two for each by the end of the game, a 7-6 win for Utah.

 

Having gotten a few wins under their belt, Utah Baseball will be heading back down to Texas this weekend to play a series of three games against the University of Texas at San Antonio, followed by a quick game at Cal State Fullerton before starting regular Pac-12 play on March 10. 

 

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