Arizona's late rally fell short as the Wolverines hosted a ranked team for the first time in their school's history in Orem, Utah.
April 4, 2012
Utah Valley 5, Arizona 4 (Box Score)
OREM, Utah - Jeremy Gendlek pitched seven strong innings and Goose Kallunki went 2-for-4, including a homer, as Utah Valley earned its first-ever home victory over a ranked opponent with a 5-4 win against No. 4 Arizona on Wednesday evening at Brent Brown Ballpark.
Arizona (21-8) trailed 5-1 going into the eighth inning, before finally forcing Gendlek out of the game. Joey Rickard led off with a single to center, which signaled the end of the night for Gendleck.
The right-hander handed the ball over to Taylor Mangum, who gave up a single to Johnny Field. One out later, Robert Refsnyder hit a three-run homer - his second in as many games - over the short porch in left field to put the Wildcats within a run.
That was all the closer the Wildcats would get. Pinch-hitter Joseph Maggi drew a leadoff walk in the ninth, but closer Josh Swenson retired the next three batters, including two by strikeout, to preserve the 5-4 lead and earn his third save,
Gendlek carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning and allowed just two runs on four hits and a walk as he improved to 4-3 on the season. In fact, the right-hander's first three hits surrendered were all bunt base hits. The first two came after a leadoff walk in the sixth before Alex Mejia'ssacrifice fly tied the game at 1-1.
Kallunki accounted for the Wolverines first run, a solo homer in the second that put the Wildcats behind for the 16-straight game. Otherwise, UA received a solid pitching performance by Tyler Crawford, who made his first career start.
Crawford (0-1) pitched 5.2 innings and gave up just two runs on three hits. After the Kallunki homer in the second, Crawford kept the Wolverines scoreless in the third, fourth and fifth innings, but he left the game with two out and two on the sixth.
Lucas Long relieved Crawford to face Kallunki, who delivered a run-scoring single to centerfield to regain a one-run lead for the Wolverines.
Arizona squandered an opportunity to even the game in the seventh. Bobby Brown reached on a leadoff bunt single and moved to second on a throwing error. He was bunted to second base by Trent Gilbert, but a popout and a groundout left Brown at third base.
In the eighth, Long gave up a leadoff double to Alex Exon before hitting Cole Butcher with a pitch to put two runners on with no outs. Vincent Littleman entered in relief and, after a sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third, the lefty struck out Jake Rickenbach. But with two outs, Sean Moysh singled to centerfield to drive in a pair of runs for a 4-1 lead.
Littleman was replaced by Tyler Hale after throwing a wild pitch to move Moysh into score position. After a balk by Hale pushed Moysh to third, Billy Burgess picked up an RBI on an infield single to give UVU a four-run advantage.
The four-run cushion proved to be the difference as the Wildcats answered with Refsnyder's three-run homer. But it was too little, too late.
Arizona, ranked fourth in the nation by Baseball America, was not only the highest ranked team to ever visit Brent Brown Ballpark, but the only ranked team. The Wildcats had won a game in Tucson between the schools in February, 12-6.
Arizona quickly turns around for a three-game Pac-12 conference series at Utah. The series begins on Thursday evening at 6 p.m. MDT at Spring Mobile Ballpark in Salt Lake City.