BELLEVUE, Wash. – Seattle University baseball utilized a huge six-run third inning and yet another strong performance from ace Jake Prizina to open Western Athletic Conference play with an 8-5 win over Utah Valley Friday evening at Bannerwood Park in Bellevue, Wash.
The win helped the Redhawks (5-15) snap a nine-game skid and open WAC play on a positive note. The Wolverines dropped to 3-18 on the year.
Justin Mazzone led Seattle U at the plate, going 3-4 with two runs scored and two RBIs. The sophomore designated hitter collected a pair of doubles and his team-leading fifth home run of the year. Michael Ciancio and Jacob Prater also homered while the Redhawks totaled 12 hits on the night.
"This win was huge," said Head Coach Donny Harrel. "We needed to have this feeling again. We've had a lot of tough losses to start the season and tonight was a nice breath of fresh air. Jake always gives us a good opportunity to win, and it was great to see Justin Mazzone back with a great night at the plate. Hopefully this feeling gets contagious and we continue on through the weekend."
Utah Valley used a pair of hits and a wild pitch to put a runner in scoring position for Kade Poulsen's sacrifice fly in the second inning.
Prizina would then work through scoreless third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings as his battery gave him a 7-1 cushion.
The six-run third came with one out as Kyle Sherick, Mazzone and Connor O'Brien got things going with three consecutive doubles, the latter two sending runners home for a 2-1 lead. Austin Lively added an RBI-single and Ciancio capped the scoring with a three-run bomb to left.
Prater pushed the Seattle U lead to 7-1 with a solo homer to lead off the fourth, marking his first home run as a Redhawk. Mazzone added a solo shot of his own in the seventh.
Utah Valley would get a pair of runs back in the seventh, and rally for one more in both the eighth and the ninth, but Seattle U's bullpen held strong as Prizina was able to pick up his third win of the year. The senior lefty finished with five strikeouts, one walk and six hits for three runs, two of which were earned. Alex Jemel earned his first save of the season after working out of jams in both the eighth and the ninth to closing out the final 1.2 innings.
The Redhawks and Wolverines continue play Saturday with first pitch scheduled for 2 p.m. at Bannerwood Park. For the most up-to-date information on game day, be sure to follow the Redhawks on Twitter at @seattleubase.