The Union Cougars and the Morgan Trojans both entered Wednesday’s 3A playoff games in a win or go home situation. Each team won early in the day, as Union defeated No. 2-seed Juab 13-9, while Morgan earned a walk-off victory against Emery.

The night games were a chance for these two squads to face off against teams they had previously lost to this postseason, as Union had fallen to Manti 20-7 on Tuesday, while Morgan had lost 3-1 to Canyon View on Monday. Putting those contests aside, each team was able to survive and force an “If necessary” rematch on Thursday night.

Union 14, Manti 2

No. 7-seed Union exacted revenge on No. 6-seed Manti with a 14-2 victory. The Cougars fell 20-7 to Manti on Tuesday but that didn’t seem to faze them at all on Wednesday.

PJ Hancock started the scoring early for Union, as he crushed a ball to deep left field for a two-run homer after Hayden Rich had previously walked.

“(That) is just huge momentum. You could just see the emotion raise, and the confidence got a little bit (better), too,” Union head coach Matt Labrum said.

Union’s third run came thanks to some savvy base running by leadoff hitter Peyton Marx. He was hit by a pitch and then advanced all the way to third on two consecutive wild pitches. He scored on a sacrifice fly to right field by Zander Nielsen, one of Nielsen’s four RBIs on the night.

With the bases loaded, Manti had the chance to end the inning, but a pop-fly was dropped and two runners scored for Union to extend the lead to 5-0.

The opportunities continued for Union as Tyson Marx laced a single to right field for two RBIs.

“That’s something that we talk about, we want to get what we call ‘Free 90s’, because every 90 (feet) you can get we are that much closer to scoring. We really push that and the guys executed it well tonight,” Labrum said.

Union went on to cruise to the win in five innings, adding three more runs in the fourth inning and four in the fifth.

Freshman pitcher Ryan Oakey earned the win after pitching a complete game. He was able to pitch around some jams to allow only two runs, and he struck out three batters.

A stellar postseason continues for Union as it forces final game against Manti Thursday afternoon with a trip to the 3A Championship Series on the line.

Morgan 8, Canyon View 1

No. 5-seed Morgan stayed alive in the 3A postseason bracket with an 8-1 victory over No. 4-seed Canyon View.

The Trojans took advantage of some early pitching difficulties from Canyon View starter Brady Anderson to score their first two runs of the game.

Anderson loaded the bases with three consecutive walks before Ben Harden hit an RBI single, his team leading 31st RBI of the season. Luke Bauerle then hit an RBI on a fielder’s choice ball to extend Morgan’s lead to two.

Morgan head coach Jed Stuart said of his team’s fast start to the game, “I think it was very important to show them that we came to play. This is the second time playing them, so we needed to jump out early.”

Morgan’s starting pitcher, Brigham Spens, got himself into a jam in the fifth inning after allowing a hit and a walk. A sacrifice bunt got him the first out of the inning, and then a huge strikeout of Canyon View’s leading hitter Cameron Calvez put him on the edge of leaving the inning unscathed.

He got some help from his defenders when Kanyon Leonelli made a miraculous diving catch in center field to end the inning.

Spens would pitch 6 1/3 innings, only allowing one run. Ryker Moser came in to finish the final two outs.

“All around great team win right there. It felt like everybody contributed at some point,” Stuart said.

Morgan then added more runs in the sixth inning thanks to a bases loaded walk, an RBI single by Luke Bauerle and a two RBI single by Beck Sheffield.

The two teams will face off a final time Thursday night with a trip to the 3A Championship Series up for grabs.