Utes Walk-Off Against Northern Colorado, 8-7
SALT LAKE CITY – Matt Richardson came home on a wild pitch in the ninth inning to break a 7-7 tie and give Utah an 8-7 walk-off victory over Northern Colorado on Tuesday night at Smith's Ballpark.
Down the lineup, Kai Roberts, Chase Anderson, Jayden Kiernan, Alex Baeza and Matt Richardson each had a pair of hits, among them being Anderson's second home run in the last four games. It was a three-run shot for Anderson, highlighting a four-RBI night for the Utah third baseman.
Richardson and Roberts each doubled in the win as well.
TJ Clarkson singled and walked twice, extending his career-long reached base streak to 19 straight games. It is the second-longest such streak by a Ute since the 2018 season, when Oliver Dunn reached in 20 consecutive contests.
Utah bounced back from an early 5-0 deficit, rallying to level the score at five by the second inning. In the first inning, Roberts led off with a single on the first pitch, then Landon Frei was hit by the first pitch he saw. Anderson then took a strike and sent the next offering to the deepest part of Smith's Ballpark, just to the left of the batter's eye in center field.
A two-spot in the second stanza evened the score at five as Utah sent eight men to bat. Davis Cop led off the inning drawing a four-pitch walk, moved up 90 feet on another free pass, then came home in part aided by a UNC throwing error. Carter Booth scored later in the inning, when Anderson's hard-hit ball ricocheted off the mound to the left side of the infield for a single.
A base hit for the Bears in the fourth inning briefly put UNC back in front, 6-5, but Roberts would score on a passed ball in the bottom of the inning to tie things back up at six.
In the last of the seventh, the Utes pulled in front for the first time on the night. Moving up to third base on Baeza's single, Kiernan darted down the line when Cop hit a grounder to third base. The throw came to the plate in an attempt to nab Kiernan at home, but as UNC's catcher attempted to apply the tag, the ball popped out and Kiernan was ruled safe with a crucial run.
The Utes were on the cusp of victory in the top of the ninth, but two walks, a single and sac fly brought home the tying run for Northern Colorado.
Richardson had a one-out single in the last of the ninth, and came all the way around via three wild pitches.
Blake Whiting (2-0) received the win for Utah after working the ninth inning. It was nice to see Jaden Harris go 2.2 innings in relief after entering in a difficult part of the ballgame early on. Dane Baker had three strikeouts as well during his 1.2-inning appearance.
Utah continues a six-game home stand on Friday, March 25, as the Utes launch a weekend non-conference series with Mercer. First pitch at Smith's Ballpark for the series opener is set for 6 p.m. MT.
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— Utah Baseball (@utahbaseball) March 24, 2022