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Sox Takes No-No into Ninth as Utah Holds Off Fresno State, 2-1

Feb 25, 2022

SAN DIEGO – Right-hander Matthew Sox was two outs away from a no-hitter before a bloop single to center field gave Fresno State its first hit of the game, then Blake Whiting closed out the win as Utah defeated Fresno State, 2-1, on Friday afternoon in the Tony Gwynn Legacy Tournament at San Diego State's Tony Gwynn Stadium.
Sox (1-0), making just his second start as a Ute, allowed just two other baserunners via walks in his outing. He was aided by the defense behind him all afternoon, especially in the late innings. Right fielder Dakota Duffalo likely took away a triple in the seventh with a spectacular catch near the warning track in right center, then in the eighth left fielder Kai Roberts robbed the Fresno State leadoff hitter of extra bases.
Needing just three more outs for the no-no, Sox quickly went up 0-2 on the Bulldogs' leadoff hitter in the ninth, was off the plate on the next pitch and got Ben Newton swinging for the first out. Then the lineup turned back to the top in Josh Lauck, who fought off a 1-1 pitch from Sox and snuck a base hit into shallow center. Sox was relieved at that point by Blake Whiting, and exited with a 2-0 lead to a standing ovation from the Utah fans in attendance.
The ovation was much deserved, though the focus quickly turned to Andrew Kachel, all of a sudden the tying run at the plate for Fresno State. Kachel ended up the first of back-to-back walks which loaded the bases with one away. A groundout allowed one run to score for the Bulldogs, then Whiting struck out Tommy Hopfe on three pitches, the last a foul-tip into the glove of catcher Jayden Kiernan. It earned Whiting his first save as a Ute.
Utah racked up seven hits in the win, with Kiernan owning a pair including a double. Duffalo hit a solo home run in the third inning, the first shot of Duffalo's career.
In the fifth inning the Utes doubled their lead to 2-0. Landon Frei led off the frame with an infield single, moved into scoring position on TJ Clarkson's walk and got to third with a nice sac bunt laid down by Duffalo. He scored when Carter Booth grounded out to third.
Sox kept his command going all afternoon, and had 1-2-3 innings in the second, third, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth. Utah was error-free behind him and he did not allow a baserunner from the fifth inning until the bloop in the ninth.
Booth has hit safely in all four games this season and Kiernan in three straight.
Utah continues the Tony Gwynn Legacy Tournament on Saturday, Feb. 26, facing the host San Diego State Aztecs in a game beginning at 7 p.m. MT.
Follow Utah baseball on social media @utahbaseball.