GREELEY, Colo. — Utah Valley University broke a 5-5 tie with eight runs in the eighth inning to defeat Northern Colorado, 13-5, and earn a split of the four-game Great West Conference series.
The Wolverines (20-24, 11-5) scored seven times in the 10th inning of a win on Saturday before following that up with another crooked inning on Sunday. UVU had 12 hitters step to the plate in the eighth with the first six all reaching and scoring in the inning.
"It was great how we were able to get on a roll and everyone started feeding off of each other," head coach Eric Madsen said. "I was happy with how we responded at the plate early too and how we answered their runs."
Riley White scored the go-ahead run on a day that he also hit a two-run home run. At first with a 3-2 count on Stone Ramsey, White advance to third on a base hit by Ramsey and then scored when the throw in from right field sailed out of play.
The next three hitters all walked including Jordy Hart, who picked up an RBI with his bases loaded walk. Willie Pratt followed Hart with a bases-clearing double to drive in all three runs and break the game open, giving UVU a 10-5 lead.
Pratt scored on a base hit by Kai Hatch, who then scored when Mark Krueger knocked him in. Krueger scored the final run on a sacrifice fly by Ramsey.
The Bears (21-22, 12-7) used four pitchers in the eighth, with Lucas Corrick (0-1) taking the loss after getting charged with three of the runs in the inning.
Kyle Valgardson (1-0) earned the win after pitching three scoreless innings. He escaped a jam in the seventh with a runner at third and the score knotted at 5-5. Northern Colorado attempted a suicide squeeze in a bid to take the lead, but it failed and Valgardson got of the inning unscathed.
UVU also got a big relief performance from Braden Poole, who came in with a runner at second and nobody out in the sixth. Poole struck out Nick Miller looking, got Colby Harrison to fly out and then struck out Andrew Coffman looking to end the inning.
"Valgardson and Poole both were huge for us. They both came on in big situations and gave us a chance to have that big inning," Madsen said.
Over the first six innings, the game went back-and-forth with the lead changing hands five times.
After three singles produced a run for Northern Colorado in the bottom of the first, the Wolverines scored twice in the top of the second on a two-run single up the middle by Spencer Gothberg. The base hit brought home White and Ramsey to give UVU a 2-1 lead.
The Bears got two in the third, but those runs were answered with White’s home run, a two-run shot to left that scored after Krueger led off with a double.
Northern Colorado tied it in the fourth and then took a 5-4 lead in the fifth before UVU tied it with a two-out RBI single by Taylor Berg.
Utah Valley finished with 18 hits on the day with the Bears picking up 16 hits but also stranding 13 runners.
Pratt, Hatch, Krueger and Ramsey all had three-hit afternoons for the Wolverines with White adding two hits and scoring three times. Ramsey — who had two doubles — also scored three runs for UVU. Ryan Yamane and Jensen Park led Northern Colorado with three hits apiece.
The Wolverines will play their final home series starting Thursday at 6 p.m. against NYIT. The four-game set is the final Great West Conference home series as UVU is set to join the WAC in next year.
Clint Burgi is the assistant athletic director for sports information at Utah Valley University. For more information on Wolverine athletics, visit WolverineGreen.com.