MESA, Ariz. – (May 25) In a win or go home situation Thursday at the Western Athletic Conference Baseball Tournament, Seattle U rallied from a five-run deficit, scored seven unanswered runs and remained to play another day with an 11-9 win over Utah Valley.
The sixth-seeded Redhawks (20-34-1) had opened tournament play Wednesday with a disappointing 11-1, seven-inning loss to third seed Sacramento State. And the struggles looked to continue early Thursday as starting pitcher Connor Moore surrendered five runs on eight hits through the first four frames to give UVU a 5-0 advantage.
But, slowly, the tide turned. Sean Sutton got Seattle U on the board with a solo homer in the bottom of the fourth and after reliever Tyler Oldenberg worked a scoreless top of the fifth, Chase Wells launched a three-run homer in the fifth, making it a one-run game, 5-4.
The Wolverines (18-36) figured out Oldenberg in the sixth, opening the game back up with four runs on six hits. Junk would enter with two outs in the inning, ending the rally by inducing a fly out to right.
Sutton collected his third hit of the day to lead off the bottom of the sixth, and the rally ensued. With runners on first and third with one out, Wells delivered his fourth RBI of the game in a single to center.
Kyler Murphy followed with an RBI-single through the right side and, despite a pitching change, Aaron Stroosma and Curtis Perrin also each delivered an RBI-single to make it a one-run game once again, 9-8.
Junk worked a quality top of the seventh, getting back-to-back fly outs, a single to second and a pop out to end the frame and give Seattle U a chance to go ahead for the first time.
Sutton would lead off with a walk and advance to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jack Reisinger. Austin Lively would reach on a hit by pitch and Dalton Hurd would follow by driving in the game-tying run, sending Sutton home from second on a single to center.
Two batters later, Stroosma delivered the go-ahead runs, driving a single through the left side, allowing Lively and Hurd to cross home plate.
Junk gave up a pair of two-out singles in the eight, but worked out of the jam by inducing a foul out to third for the third out. After a 1-2-3 bottom of the eighth for the Redhawks, Junk returned for the top of the ninth. He got a quick fly ball for the first out, then took a comebacker off his foot, but recovered to make a nifty glove flip to Sutton at first for out No. 2. A foul out to Sutton ended the inning and kept Seattle U's season alive.
Sutton finished with three hits while Stroosma had two hits and three RBIs and Wells collected two hits and four RBIs. Junk improved to 6-7 on the year after pitching 3.1 scoreless frames.
The Redhawks will be back in action on Thursday at 11 a.m. with their opponent to be determined later tonight.