TJ Bennett's pinch-hit walk-off single in the 11th gave the Utes a 3-2 win over Utah Valley.
March 19, 2013
SALT LAKE CITY - Set up by a one-out triple by senior Tyler Relf, junior TJ Bennett came through with a pinch hit walk-off single in the bottom of the 11th to give the Utah baseball team a 3-2 win over Utah Valley in a non-conference matchup on Tuesday night at Spring Mobile Ballpark.
"This was a good victory," Utah head coach Bill Kinneberg said. "We'll move on from it. Any time you win on Tuesday, it's good, but our focus is on this weekend and Stanford.
"(Using Bennett as a pinch hitter in the situation) was hitting coach Bryan Kinneberg's call," Kinneberg said. "I wasn't thinking about it and he suggested it. He said TJ had a good chance of getting it into the outfield and that was what we needed. He squared up the ball and hit it hard."
Utah (9-9) also benefited from a 2-for-3, one RBI performance from freshman third baseman Dallas Carroll, his fifth multi-hit performance of the season.
Senior right-hander Chase Rezac started on the mound and went five innings, allowing just two earned runs on five hits to go with four strikeouts and two walks.
Junior Luke West was impressive in relief as he retired 12 out of 14 batters faced and recorded six strikeouts over four innings.
"I am so proud of Luke," Kinneberg said. "This was his third outing of the season. He pitched great against Cal and he was outstanding tonight. For me, the two heroes were Luke and then Relf, who had the big hit in the 11th as well as a big throw from right field in the 10th."
Josh Chapman picked up the win after throwing the final two innings, allowing only one hit with four strikeouts to improve his record to 2-1 this season.
The extra-inning drama began as UVU's Beau Kallas drew a leadoff walk to start the 10th and remained there with two outs when Kai Hatch singled to right, but a nice throw from Relf cut down Kallas at third base for the final out of the frame.
Relf then carried his momentum to the plate as he tripled off the wall in left center with one out in the bottom of the 11th and would eventually plate the game-winning run after Bennett's single to left. Bennett now has eight RBI this season.
Utah Valley scored in the first inning off an RBI double by Mark Krueger, but Utah responded when Carroll hit a two-out double off the left field wall and Trey Nielsen connected on a hard-hit RBI single through the left side of the Wolverine defense for his fifth run driven in this year to even the contest at one run apiece.
Back-to-back two-out doubles by the Wolverines in the top of the fifth gave UVU a 2-1 advantage.
With one down in the sixth, Carroll singled for his second hit of the game then took second after a UVU throwing error. Unfortunately, the Wolverines were able to keep the Utes off the scoreboard after securing a pair of strikeouts.
In Utah's seventh, Tyler Yagi grounded into a fielder's choice to UVU's third baseman, who in turn threw over to second base for the force out, but the throw down to first base caromed off the railing down the first base line and allowed Yagi to advance to second. Utah was unable to push a run across home plate after fouling out to UVU's catcher and grounding out to the shortstop.
To start a wild Utah eighth that saw three Utes get hit by a pitch, Braden Anderson was hit by a pitch then advanced to second after a UVU wild pitch. Kody Davis then drew a walk, while Anderson swiped third base and the Utes evened the game at two runs apiece when Carroll launched a sacrifice fly to right field for his fifth run driven in on the year.
Utah Valley dropped to 9-12 this season and Braden Poole took the loss to even his record to 1-1.
The Utes head to Palo Alto, Calif., for a three-game weekend series against Stanford, beginning Friday at 7 p.m. PT.