BELLEVUE, Wash. – A ninth-inning Redhawk rally came up just short Saturday afternoon at Bannerwood Park as Utah Valley evened the Western Athletic Conference series against Seattle U baseball, 4-2.
The game featured very little offense until the final frame as six of the teams' combined 14 hits would come in the ninth inning.
The Redhawks (5-16, 1-1 WAC) could not get to UVU starter Paxton Schultz, who tossed eight scoreless frames on the day. Trailing 4-0 headed into the bottom of the ninth, and now facing reliever Matt Dalke, Seattle U finally got a rally going. With one out, Chase Wells would reach on an error by shortstop Paul Estrada.
Austin Lively and Michael Ciancio would each single to load the bases for pinch hitter Jake Taylor who knocked a single through the right side, scoring Wells and Lively. The Wolverines would replace Danke with closer Jesse Schmit who hit Kyler Murphy to reload the bases. But Jacob Prater would ground into a double play to end the rally and the inning.
"Credit Schultz, who was really, really good today," said Head Coach Donny Harrel. "We competed against him as long as we could. And then we get into the bullpen and have a chance, and you can't ask for more than to tie the game or win the game in the ninth.
"But it starts up front and we didn't get a quality start out of Tyler," Harrel continued. "And then again we have to be better out of the bullpen when our starter struggles. We gave up 12 freebees on 11 walks and one hit-by-pitch, and we're just not going to win games doing that.
Seattle U's pitching staff struggled on the day as six players combined for 11 walks. Starter Tyler Yeh lasted just 3.2 after giving up the game's first run on a wild pitch.
Utah Valley (4-18, 1-1 WAC) would add a second run in the sixth when Alexander Marco reached on a walk and eventually came around to score on a sacrifice fly. The Wolverines would add two insurance runs in the ninth, collecting three hits in the frame.
Lively finished with three hits for the Redhawks while Wells added a pair. UVU collected just five hits in the game, one each for the first five batters in the lineup.
The series concludes Sunday with the rubber match, scheduled for 12 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.