College Baseball: Utah snaps UVU's 32-game win streak
Orem • Goose Kallunki had lived the moment countless times with his father in a batting cage.
And there is was, Tuesday night at Brent Brown Ballpark, Utah Valley down four with the bases loaded and Kallunki at bat.
Dreams weren't enough.
Kallunki delivered a two-run single, but the Wolverines left the winning run at second base as Utah hung on for an 11-10 victory.
A season-high three home runs by Utah helped snap UVU's a 32-game winning streak, the fourth longest in NCAA history. It also avenged an earlier Ute loss to Utah Valley.
"I'm very proud of our club," UVU manager Eric Madsen said. "They competed to the very end."
The bottom of the ninth brought most of the 4,735 spectators to their feet as Utah closer Tyler Wagner struggled to shut the Wolverines down.
"To have a Tuesday night game mean that much, it was a lot of fun," Utah coach Bill Kinneberg said. "Thankfully, we got that last out."
Down the their final out, the Wolverines loaded the bases. Kallunki rifled a sharp, two-run single to left. Hatch doubled home a third run and stood as the potential winner at second.
However, as the ballpark echoed with screams, Alex Exon struck out on a checked swing and Wagner was mobbed by his teammates.
"Our kids knew what was going on tonight," said Kinneberg, who prepares for Stanford and the continuation of his Pac-12 schedule Friday. "Our kids have played good baseball the last couple of weeks. They've been beat up this year."
For much of the game, Utah Valley (39-12) walked the high wire. The Utes (14-35) left the bases loaded in the first and second innings, scoring just one run on a leadoff homer by James Brooks.
And the Wolverines looked to be on their way to win No. 33 straight when they pushed six runs across in the third.
From that point on, Utah pitching put the clamps on UVU's offense. Meanwhile, the Utes scored three in the fourth and the fifth.
"You could see our kids getting more confident," Kinneberg said.
The Utes' outfield also made significant contribution. Right fielder Gavin Green and center fielder Tyler Reif left their feet to make diving catches.
"I was disappointed that we put ourselves in position to have to come back," Kallunki said.
Now, with Northern Colorado coming to UVU to finish the season, will this loss end the Wolverines' hopes for an NCAA Tournament at-large bid?
"They still have a chance to get in," Kinneberg said. "Hopefully, they'll sweep Northern Colorado."
"It would be unfortunate if one loss against a Pac-12 team [ended UVU's chances]; I'd be disappointed in the system," he said.
Utah 11, Utah Valley 10
Utah holds on as to stop Utah Valley's 32-game win streak, the fourth longest in NCAA history.
Ethan Leiter drives in three runs for Utah, including one the team's season-high three home runs.
Willie Pratt collects three RBIs for Utah Valley.