HOUSTON — Willie Pratt’s bases-clearing double capped a five-run eighth inning and helped preserve the nation’s longest win streak as Utah Valley won its 28th straight, 8-6, over Houston Baptist on Sunday afternoon. The win moves UVU to 35-11 overall and 20-0 in the Great West Conference.
The Wolverines found themselves in unfamiliar territory, trailing 3-1 and needing to come from behind late when Sean Moysh and Billy Burgess had consecutive singles to start an eighth-inning rally.
After Burgess moved into scoring position on a wild pitch, Austin Heaps tied the game with a two-run single to right. Later, with two down and the bases full, Pratt delivered the three-run double down the left field line to give UVU a 6-3 lead.
“The guys battled and trusted what they can do and just came through,” said head coach Eric Madsen. “This team knows how to win and just continues to find ways to get it done.”
The Huskies (18-25, 10-10) got on the board in the first and held a 1-0 lead until the fourth. Goose Kallunki’s two-out double plated Burgess from first and tied the game at 1-1 while extending his hit streak to 19 games.
Houston Baptist answered with two in the bottom of the fourth, on singles from Curtis Jones and Samm Wiggins, to take a 3-1 lead that lasted into the eighth.
Freshman Tyler Hoelscher gave Houston Baptist 7 1/3 solid innings but was chased following the hits from Moysh and Burgess.
With the Wolverines in front 6-3, Kolby Arnst had an RBI double in the bottom of the eighth before a pair of insurance runs in the ninth proved to be crucial for the Wolverines.
Both runs in the ninth came with two outs; the first when Kallunki singled home his nation-leading 72nd RBI of the season to bring home Moysh. Kai Hatch followed with a base hit to plate Burgess and make it 8-4.
Houston Baptist threatened in the ninth, with the first three hitters all reaching, but Taylor Mangum got Garrett Tully to hit into a fielder’s choice before inducing a game-ending double play off the bat of David Pfuntner.
Adam Gunn pitched into the ninth and got the win for Utah Valley, moving his record to 8-3. The Wolverines tagged Jake Gonzalez for five runs in 1 1/3 innings to give the HBU closer his first loss.
Burgess and Pratt had three hits apiece on a 15-hit afternoon for the Wolverines.
The Wolverines will travel to Old Westbury, New York for a four-game league series beginning next Friday. Utah Valley’s magic number to clinch its third straight Great West regular-season crown now sits at just one.
Clint Burgi is the assistant athletic director for sports information at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit http://www.WolverineGreen.com