Utah Baseball Salvages Tough Weekend with Series Finale Win Over USC


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 Abbey Thomas, Sports Editor


On Friday, the Utah baseball team made a quick trip down to Provo to kick off the first game in a series of three against the University of Southern California. Unfortunately for the Utes, the team has had minimal success against California teams this season, winning only two of eight games against San Francisco, Fullerton and Stanford. However, this weekend, Utah was able to add one more to the tally while facing off against USC.

Friday’s game at Miller Park started out a little slow for the Utes, with the Trojans picking up a run in the first inning after a play from Cole Gabrielson. USC nabbed another two unearned runs in the third by the top of the fifth inning, with Utah still struggling to get past second base. When the bottom of the fifth came, however, the Utes began to creep up on Southern California after a single to left field from Dakota Duffalo. The hit paved the way for Jayden Kiernan and Kaden Carpenter to touch third and second base, leaving the bases loaded for a potential run. However, a fly ball from Matt Flaharty out to center field landed in the hands of the opponent, shutting down Utah’s advance. Despite the team’s best efforts, the rest of the night remained scoreless for the Utes, with USC claiming the win at 0-4.

On Saturday, the two teams made the journey back up to Salt Lake to play the last two games of the series at home in Smith’s Ballpark. After a tough blow the night before, the Utes came with their A game to try and topple USC. Unfortunately, the previous night’s win seemed to give the Trojans the same energy.

The first three innings remained scoreless for either team, but the arrival of the fourth saw some intense Southern California heat. A homer followed by a number of aggressive plays delivered a staggering six runs for the Trojans, leaving Utah in the dust. The Utes had a few more scoring chances through the rest of the game, with Duffalo, Kiernan and TJ Clarkson all making it to third base throughout the night. However, Utah was unable to cross home plate, while USC added four more runs to the board at the top of the ninth to seal another victory, 0-10.

Despite a scoreless weekend and struggling to follow through on runs, the Utes returned on Sunday determined to resist a sweep from USC. The first inning saw the Trojans make two runs to give them an early boost, almost as if they were daring Utah to try and do the same. Flaharty and Landon Frei struck out in the bottom of the third, but in the bottom of the fourth, it was Utah’s turn to bring the heat.

Clarkson kicked off the fourth inning with a homer to right field, followed by Kiernan who sent a single down the same way to get on base. Davis Cop followed suit and sent a homer himself, sending the two across home plate to bring the tally to 3-3. A throwing error from USC helped Kai Roberts cruise to second, after which he and Flaharty stole third and second, respectively. A hit from Duffalo helped Roberts secure a fourth run, and the Utes ended the inning on top 3-4.

Now, the Utes had the Trojans right where they wanted them. Unable to score, USC didn’t make it past their three initial runs for the rest of the match. Kiernan and Clarkson grabbed two more runs in the bottom of the fifth, with USC barely meeting second base. Utah had their last moment to shine in the sixth inning, when Duffalo stole second and made it home courtesy of Clarkson’s second homer of the night. The Utes came out on top with a final score of 8-3, claiming the final game of the weekend.


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