Walk-Off Hits Give SUU Two Wins Against Utah Valley
The Thunderbirds (4-1) had Cuthbertson win game one with a tenth inning walk-off two-run double that he actually hit out of the ball park but was only credited with a double after he left the field after touching second base and celebrated with the team, not knowing the ball went over the fence. Hunt provided the heroics in game two, lining a one-out single to right field, allowing redshirt-catcher Taylor Shaw to come around and score the game-winner. The Wolverines saw their record slip to 3-4 on the young season.
Cuthbertson finished the day with four hits after a 3-for-4 performance in game one while junior first baseman Mitchell Romero added three hits on the day, recording two hits and driving in two runs in the opener.
In game one, SUU sophomore starting pitcher Justin Neubauer opened game own with a pair of scoreless innings before UVU used three hits to bring two runs across and take a 2-0 lead in the third.
Southern Utah answered right back in bottom half of the inning, scoring a run on a dropped popup then picking up two runs on Kauweloa's single down the left fine to give SUU a 3-2 lead.
Neubauer settled in, posting scoreless fourth and fifth innings before the Wolverines used a pair of two-out hits to tie the game at 3-3 in the sixth. SUU would gain a 5-4 lead in the seventh Cuthbertson and junior Marcus Romero executed a double steal with Cuthbertson getting a rundown and allowing Romero to score on the play.
UVU used a two-out RBI double to tie the game at 5-5 in the ninth off of Rezac who came on in relief in the seventh but SUU would come away with the win with a timely hit form Cuthbertson in the 10th. Pinch-hitter Tyson Weber was hit by the pitch to start the inning and freshman leftfielder Tariq Staton bunted pinch-runner David Headley up to second. One batter later, the left-handed hitting Cuthbertson drove a pitch deep to left center that went over the fence but there was some confusion in whether the ball actually went over, resulting in Cuthbertson cutting off is home run trot and running to celebrate with the Thunderbirds after he rounded second base and both Headley and Andrade had scored to give SUU a 6-4 ten-inning win.
Neubauer received a no-decision after working six innings, allowing three earned runs and striking out three while Rezac picked up the win with his four innings for relief.
In game two, Cuthbertson gave SUU an early lead with a one-out triple in the right centerfield gap, scoring Andrade who had led off the inning with a walk.
Neuhart later extended the Thunderbird lead to 2-0 with a two-out RBI double in the fourth. Kauweloa doubled with one out before Neuhart pulled a pitch just inside the third base bag and down the left field line to score Kauweloa from first and open up a two-run cushion.
SUU freshman starting pitcher Chris Chung settled in after working out of a couple earl-inning jams, stranding a pair of runners with an inning-ending groundout in the first before getting a in strikeout-throw out double play to end the second. The right-hander went on to post scoreless third and fourth innings before running into trouble in the fifth. UVU recorded a pair of hits and received a balk to to bring two runs across and tie the game at 2-2.
Sophomore lefthander Nick Newberry came on in relief of Chung to start the seventh and quickly got two outs before the next two hitters reached but Newberry induced the next batter to hit a ground ball to Cuthbertson who flipped to Andrade at second for the final out.
Both pitching staffs kept the game scoreless over the next three innings before the Thunderbirds turned in a nice defensive play to end the Wolverines scoring threat in the ninth. With runners on first and second and two outs, UVU's Billy Burgess lined a pitch to left field that Rezac charged, fielded and fired a one-hop strike to catcher Taggart Lunceford who received the throw and made the tag to end the inning.
Shaw then opened the ninth by drawing a walk and was moved up to second on a Neuhart sacrifice bunt. Rezac was then intentionally walked to set up a force but Hunt came through with game-winning RBI single through the right side.
Chung struck out three in six innings of his first collegiate start while Newberry posted 2.1 scoreless innings of relief before freshman right-hander Alakai Aglipay recorded the final two outs of the ninth and later earned the win.
The Thunderbirds will now begin a stretch when they will play their next 17 games on the road, heading to Lawrence, Kan. for the Jayhawk Classic next week. SUU will play the University of Iowa on Monday, the University of Kansas on Tuesday and one more game on Wednesday.