Arizona vs. UVU: No. 4 Wildcats Upended Against Wolverines
OREM, Utah.—Hosting their first ranked opponent in Brent Brown Ballpark history, Jeremy Gendlek and the Utah Valley Wolverines (13-11) capped off a stellar performance as they downed the No. 4 Arizona Wildcats (21-8) in a stunning 5-4 defeat.
Complementing Gendlek’s dominating seven-inning outing, Goose Kallunki provided the offensive spark that would launch the Wolverines over the edge.
The win seals UVU’s fourth all-time against ranked opponents and second this season. Gendlek was also awarded the honors of the winning pitcher in the March 14 matchup against No. 11 ASU.
This particular win marks the first in the school’s Division I history to topple a top-five opponent. More importantly, the win stretches the school’s current win streak to six games.
In the second inning, the Wolverines would draw first blood, hammering home a solo shot off the bat of Kallunki to post an early 1-0 lead.
In the visiting dugout, the Wildcats entered the day carrying a five-game conference win-streak with two wins over the No. 19 OSU Beavers and a sweep against the No. 2 Stanford Cardinal.
After taking a no-hitter into the sixth, Gendlek would ultimately allow just two runs on four hits in 7.0 innings of work, drowning out the Wildcats' .327 offense.
In the sixth, Joey Rickard put the Cats on the board when he lifted a sacrifice fly to left, putting the game at a 1-1 standstill. The Cats would only muster the one run, as Gendlek bared down and escaped any further damage.
Will the Wildcats rebound and win the Utah series?
Some is good, but more is better.
Kallunki helped his cause when he delivered in the bottom half of the sixth, striking a two-out single to center and scoring Jake Rickenbach in the process.
The hit would lift the Wolverines over the hump to reclaim their marginal 2-1 lead.
After being held to two runs through six full frames, the floodgates opened and Utah Valley jumped on Arizona’s pitching staff. The Wolverines posted a crooked number, tacking on three runs in the seventh and extending the lead to 5-1.
The Wildcats were down, but not out.
Clawing back into the thick of the conversation, Robert Refsnyder tapped into the lead as he stepped into an off-speed pitch, tattooing it over the left-field wall. The hit would account for three runs and lessen the lead to 5-4.
After allowing a leadoff walk, closer Josh Swenson tallied his third save of the season as he put an end to the Cats’ emerging rally with a fitting one, two, three ending.
Staying in Utah, the Wildcats cannot dwell on their lack of performance as they have to quickly assemble their losses—they head into a Pac-12-filled weekend against the Utah Utes.
The series begins Thursday night in Salt Lake City.
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