OREM — Utah Valley drove home seven runs in the eighth en route to earning a 16-6 run-rule walk-off victory over Chicago State in WAC baseball on Friday night at UCCU Ballpark in Orem.
UVU (8-25, 5-5 WAC) held a 9-6 advantage entering the last of the eighth before the offense erupted for seven runs to earn the run-rule victory over CSU (8-22, 3-7 WAC).
Michael Beltran led the UVU offense in the game by going 3-for-6 with a homer, a triple and three runs batted in. The Wolverine senior also scored four runs and finished just a double shy of the cycle. Fellow senior Trevor Howell too had a three-hit game by going 3-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored, while Kody Hall, Alexander Marco and Mick Madsen each added two hits apiece.
Jake Carr also pitched well for the Wolverines on the day on his way to earning his second victory of the season. The senior right-hander struck out a career-high 11 batters and walked just two while going a season-high 7.1 innings on the mound to earn the win.
"I thought that Jake pitched well for us today. He had the one inning where he kind of lost his focus and made a couple of mistakes, but he did a nice job of responding after that," head UVU coach Eric Madsen said. "I also thought that our offense did a nice job early as well as in the last inning to help lead us to the victory."
The Wolverines got off to a strong start by scoring eight runs over the first two innings to jump out to an early 8-2 lead. UVU scored three in the first thanks to a trio of walks, an error and a wild pitch. Marco drove in the first run in the frame by drawing a bases loaded walk. Madsen then followed with an RBI single through the right side and the third run of the frame came home on a wild pitch to give the Wolverines a 3-0 lead.
After the Cougars countered with two runs in the top of the second, the Wolverines responded with five in the bottom of the frame to make it 8-2. Following back-to-back hits from Howell and Hall, Beltran then drove them both home with a two-run triple to left-center to make it 5-2. With runners later on second and third, Marco then drove in his second run of the game with a sac fly to left. The Wolverines then scored a pair of unearned runs later in the frame after a CSU throwing miscue to make it 8-2.
Chicago State then added two more in the third on a two-run homer from Tyler Lowe to cut the deficit in half at 8-4. The Cougars made it 8-5 with a run in the fifth, but UVU responded with a solo home run from Beltran in the bottom of the frame to extend the lead to 9-5. Beltran belted out his first long ball of the season with a shot down the left field line to give the Wolverines the four-run cushion.
The Cougars then added a run in the top of the eighth to make it 9-6, but UVU responded in a big way with seven runs in the bottom of the inning to earn the 10-run walk-off victory. Howell started the scoring in the final inning with a two-run triple to left-center and Hall followed with a single to the right side to make it 12-6. After a single from Beltran, Ryan Eastburn then followed with an RBI single to center to make it 13-6. Following a pitching change and a walk from Marco to load the bases, Madsen then drove home two more with a two-run double left-center to make it a 15-6 contest. With only one out and runners on second and third, Pacen Hayes then sent the home crowd home happy with a walk-off RBI single to left to propel the Wolverines to the 16-6 run-rule win.
Eight of the nine Wolverine batters in the starting lineup all recorded at least one hit on the day, as UVU pounded out a total of 15 hits on its way to scoring a season-high 16 runs.
Relief pitcher Romeo Carrillo too had a strong appearance in the game for the Wolverines by pitching his way out of a jam in the top of the eighth. Entering with the bases loaded and just one out, Carrillo managed to retire the two of the three batters he faced including striking out Tyler Zunkel looking to escape the jam.
The three-game weekend series will continue on Saturday with a 2 p.m. matinee at UCCU Ballpark. The league series will then conclude on Sunday. Sunday's finale has been moved up to a 10 a.m. MDT start to accommodate CSU's flight out of town.