After letting an early lead slip away in the middle innings, Seattle University rallied with single runs in each of the final three innings and held on for a 10-9 victory over Utah Valley University Friday night in a Western Athletic Conference collegiate baseball game at Brent Brown Ballpark.
Down 9-7, Seattle U started its comeback in the seventh inning when Cullen Hendrickson (Auburn, Wash.) was hit by a pitch, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and scored on a single to left field by Brock Carpenter (Milton, Wash.). In the eighth inning, pinch hitter Colin Peterson (Bellingham, Wash.) led off with an infield single, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Chase Fields (Ontario, Ore.), and came around to score on a double to left field by Michael McCann (Vancouver, Wash.), tying the game at 9-9.
After Grant Gunning (Snohomish, Wash.) faced the minimum number of batters in two innings of relief, Hendrickson led off the top of the ninth inning with a solo home run down the right field line, his fifth home run of the season. Connor Moore (West Richland, Wash.) came on in relief in the bottom of the ninth inning and retired the Wolverines in order, earning his first save of the season and giving Gunning his third victory of 2014.
“Our freshmen were big tonight with Carpenter’s home run and key RBIs from McCann and Finfer, with the game-winner coming from our senior Hendrickson,” Seattle U head coach Donny Harrel said. “We have to keep focus on the mound with a big lead, but I am very proud of us coming back and securing the win.”
Utah Valley (22-25, 13-9 WAC) scored in the bottom of the first inning when Seth Rhineer was hit by a pitch, advanced to third base on back-to-back wild pitches, and scored on a single to center field by Mark Krueger. Seattle U answered in the bottom of the second when Brian Olson (Black Diamond, Wash.) led off with a single, advanced to second on a walk by Hendrickson, reached third base on a deep flyout from Carpenter, and scored on a groundout to the shortstop hit by Sam Finfer (Bellevue, Wash.).
With one out in the third inning, Fields would reach on an infield single, and then he would reach third base after stealing second and taking the extra base on a throwing error by the Wolverine catcher. After McCann drew a walk, Landon Cray (Chimacum, Wash.) laced a single into center field, driving in Fields to give the Redhawks a 2-1 lead.
Seattle U broke the game open with five runs in the top of the fifth inning, capped by a three-run home run down the left field line by Carpenter, the first long ball of his collegiate career. Meanwhile, Redhawk starter Skyler Genger (Kent, Wash.) held Utah Valley to one run and two hits through the first four innings, striking out four Wolverines along the way.
Utah Valley started its comeback with four runs in the fifth inning, starting with a two-run triple by Kade Andrus, who then scored on a sacrifice fly to right field by Sean Moysh. Krueger drove in his second run of the night with a solo home run over the wall in right field, cutting the Redhawk lead to 7-5 and ending the night for Genger.
Craig Brinkerhoff and Greyson Bogden led off the sixth inning with consecutive singles, and Beau Kallas drove Brinkerhoff in with a double to left-center field. Cam Zollinger’s single to left field drove in Bogden with the game-tying run, and Kallas scored the go-ahead tally on a sacrifice fly by Andrus. The Wolverines added another run when Krueger came through again, this time with an RBI single to left field that scored Zollinger.
Hendrickson went 3-for-3 with three runs scored and two RBI, while Carpenter drove in four runs during a 2-for-5 performance. Kruger led the Wolverines with a 3-for-5 hitting night with three RBI, and Andrus also collected three runs batted in for the home team. All five Utah Valley pitchers that appeared gave up at least one run, with Kyle Valgardson taking the loss after giving up the ninth-inning home run to Hendrickson.
Seattle University (23-21, 11-8 WAC) and Utah Valley have agreed to play a doubleheader Saturday, May 10, starting at 2:30 p.m. local time (1:30 p.m. Pacific time), as rain is being called for on Sunday. The Redhawks will play their final five regular season games in the Puget Sound area, starting with the final game of the season series against Washington at Husky Ballpark Tuesday, May 13, at 5 p.m., followed by a three-game series against Bakersfield May 15-17 and the regular season finale against Washington State Monday, May 19, at Bannerwood Park in Bellevue.