May 18, 2012

Two big innings lead to Wolverines victories

By HEATHER KENNEDY
UNCBears.com

OREM, Utah – The sixth inning proved to be the Achilles heel for the Northern Colorado baseball team on Friday evening at No. 27 Utah Valley. The Wolverines scored five runs in game one and seven in game two to win both games of the doubleheader, 7-2 and 11-6, respectively.

With the losses, the Bears fall to 25-30 on the year and 15-12 in Great West Conference play while the Wolverines move to 42-12 overall and 27-0 in league play.

Northern Colorado is one of four teams tied at 15-12 headed into the final day of the regular season, along with Houston Baptist, NJIT and Texas-Pan American. The Huskies and Broncs square off against each other at noon Central time on Saturday, while the Highlanders wrap up their season against NYIT at noon Eastern time.

Senior Tony Crudo became the seventh player in Northern Colorado history to record 200 career hits when he singled in game two. He is second amongst active hitters, trailing senior Adam Hilker who has 214 after going 1-for-3 in game one.

Fellow senior Casey Coy went 4-for-7 in the twin bill with two runs scored and a pair of doubles. He also walked once and was hit by a pitch once. Senior Adrian Schenk hit a pair of triples in game two and went 3-for-6 on the day with two RBI and one of the team's eight runs.

Game One Recap
Northern Colorado had the early 2-0 lead going into the bottom of the fourth inning, but Utah Valley scored seven unanswered, including five in the sixth for the 7-2 win.

The Bears had six hits by six different players, including Hilker, who extended his hitting streak to 19 straight. He also moved into fourth on the career charts with 214 hits, passing former teammate T.J. Berge (2008-11).

Senior Joe Willman pitched three scoreless innings, surrendering just four hits. He also walked two and struck out two. Sophomore Josh Tinnon threw one frame, allowing one earned run (two total) on two hits with one walk. Freshman Jess Amedee (5-4) was on the hill for the final two innings, allowing five runs on three hits with two walks and one strikeout.

The Bears struck early on the scoreboard. Coy doubled to right-center and scored on a single through the right side by Hilker.

The team added one more in the third for a 2-0 lead. Junior Dylan Banach bunted for a single and moved over on a sacrifice bunt by freshman Ryan Yamane. Coy walked and Banach scored on a throwing error by Willie Pratt attempting to turn the double play.

Senior Kevin Hurd doubled off the fence in left field after junior Harrison Lambert walked in the top of the fourth, but the pair was stranded.

Utah Valley tied the score with two runs in the bottom of the fourth, including the second home run of the series by Goose Kallunki. In the bottom of the sixth, the Wolverines scored five runs on three hits, two walks and a hit batsman for the 7-2 win.

Game Two Recap
Once again, the Wolverines used a big sixth inning to come away with the win, scoring seven and eventually winning 11-6.

Coy and Schenk both went 3-for-4 in the game with Schenk hitting a pair of triples to tie the school single-game record and become the fourth different player to hit two three-baggers in a game. Junior Derek Baum also went 2-for-3.

Junior Jake Johnson pitched four innings, allowing three runs, none of them earned, on three hits with two walks. Senior Nate Steinmetz (4-6) pitched the following 1.2 frames, allowing five earned runs (seven total) on six hits. Senior Cameron Tallman threw 1.1 hitless innings, while Coy gave up one run on one hit in the eighth.

Freshman Taylor Anderson led off the game with a single back up the middle, but was erased on a double play. Coy also singled up the middle to stretch his hitting streak to 10 games but was thrown out attempting to steal second.

In the top of the fourth, the Bears scored one run after Yamane led off with a double to right-center. He  scored on a single past a diving third baseman off the bat of Lambert.

Utah Valley scored three in the bottom of the fourth off one hit with an error and a wild pitch for the 3-1 lead.

Banach hit a fly ball to right to start the top of the fifth and the ball was misplayed, putting Banach on second. Hurd walked and Baum was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Banach scored on a fielder's choice hit by Anderson to cut the lead in half, 3-2.

With one out in the sixth, Crudo singled and Schenk tripled to right center to knot the score at 3-3. Schenk scored on an error off the bat of Hurd to give the lead back to the Bears, 4-3.

Utah Valley answered immediately with seven runs in the bottom of the frame for the 10-4 advantage. The Wolverines had five hits and two hit batters in the inning, including a grand slam by Jordy Hart.

Coy continued his good series, doubling down the left field line with one out in the seventh and Lambert followed with a single to center. Coy scored on a sacrifice fly to center off the bat off Crudo. Schenk tripled for the second time in the game to plate Lambert for the 10-6 tally.

Tallman retired the side in order in the bottom of the seventh, getting three fly ball outs. In the eighth, UVU added one run for the 11-6 final score.