Giving up the big inning proved to be the undoing for Seattle University throughout Saturday’s doubleheader, as Utah Valley University won both games, 8-2 and 9-4, in Western Athletic Conference collegiate baseball action at Brent Brown Ballpark.
“We just did not pitch it well enough to win. Dennis gave us a quality start to keep us in the first game before their big inning, and we were playing from behind in game two even though he had the big first inning,” Seattle U head coach Donny Harrel said. “We need to be able to pitch and play defense at a higher level if we’ll keep playing at the end of the year.”
The first game was scoreless until the bottom of the fourth inning when Utah Valley’s Craig Brinkerhoff drove in Mark Krueger and Riley White with a double to left-center field to give the Wolverines a 2-0 lead. The Redhawks took advantage of back-to-back Wolverine errors in the top of the fifth to load the bases, followed by Chase Fields (Ontario, Ore.) driving in Sam Finfer (Bellevue, Wash.) and Michael McCann (Vancouver, Wash.) driving in Griffin Andreychuk (Nanaimo, B.C.) to tie the game at 2-2.
With Seattle U starter Will Dennis (Saratoga, Calif.) still in the game in the eighth inning, Utah Valley started its first big inning of the day with a bases-loaded two-run single from Seth Rhineer. The Wolverines reloaded the bases, and White followed with a sacrifice fly. Ted Hammond (Shoreline, Wash.) came on in relief and gave up a two-run single to Brinkerhoff, and he would score on a single by Greyson Bogden.
Ryan Evans earned the victory for Utah Valley, allowing just five hits and two runs, one of them earned, in eight innings of work. Finfer led the Redhawk offense with a 3-for-4 performance at the plate, while Brinkerhoff drove in half of the Wolverines’ runs in the contest as part of a 2-for-3 effort.
Seattle U jumped on the board in the first inning of the second game, as McCann singled to center field and came around to score on a triple to right field by Landon Cray (Chimacum, Wash.). Brian Olson (Black Diamond, Wash.) would drive in Cray with a double down the left field line, advance to third on a groundout, and score on a single to left field by Finfer.
Utah Valley (24-25, 15-9 WAC) greeted Seattle U starter Andrew Olson (Enumclaw, Wash.) with consecutive singles in the bottom of the first. Krueger drove in both Kade Andrus and Bogden with a single, and two more runs would score on a single by Brinkerhoff, one of them on a Redhawk throwing error. After Connor Moore (West Richland, Wash.) replaced Olson, Brinkerhoff would score on a groundout, extending the Wolverine lead to 5-3.
Andrus earned the big hit in the bottom of the fourth inning with a three-run home run over the wall in left-center field to give Utah Valley an 8-3 lead. Cray would score a run in the top of the fifth inning, but Seattle U could not sustain any more offense after that point, as the Wolverines scored an insurance run in the seventh inning to solidify the doubleheader sweep.
The Wolverines finished with 17 hits in the nightcap, led by Bogden and Beau Kallas with three hits apiece. Andrew Freter picked up the victory for Utah Valley after giving up nine hits, two walks, and four runs, three of them earned, in 5 2/3 innings of work. Four different Seattle U players collected two hits apiece in the game.
The Seattle University (23-23, 11-10 WAC) players and coaches will be able to sleep in their own beds for a week after returning from Utah. The Redhawks head across town for the final game of the season series against Washington Tuesday, May 13, at Husky Ballpark at 5 p.m. before hosting Bakersfield at Bannerwood Park in the final conference series of the regular season Thursday through Saturday, May 15-17.