The Utah Utes clinched a share of the Pac-12 baseball title by beating the Washington Huskies, 12-8, at Smith’s Ballpark.
SALT LAKE CITY–Every time Utah scored, Washington punched back. That was until Utah threw the haymaker in the form of a 7-run 7th inning to transform an 8-5 Husky lead into a Utah 12-8 advantage. The Utah bullpen held the Huskies in check after gaining the lead to clinch a share of the Pac-12 Conference championship.
The Utes clinched the first Pac-12 title for a men’s sport. They’ll have a chance to win the conference outright over the Huskies tomorrow, along with a chance to earn an automatic berth to the NCAA Baseball Tournament. Should the Utes lose tomorrow, they’ll retain the shared championship with UW, but will likely remain on the outside of the national tournament, looking in.
Utah hit a pair of home runs in the 4th inning, started by a high, hanging fly ball by Josh Rose over the right field fence. With Kole Davis on first, freshman Deshawn Keirsley hit a bullet to center field, resulting in a two-run inside-the-park home run to give Utah a 5-4 lead.
Down 8-5 in the 7th, ninth-hole hitter Davis was hit by a pitch and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Following a Keirsley fly-out, the Utes started the merry-go-round. Cody Scaggari, Hunter Simmons, Andre Jackson, AJ Young, and Keirsley all came through with RBIs. The Huskies were forced to use four pitchers before finally dousing the flames. At that point, the damage was done. Junior reliever Dylan Drachler closed out the game with two scoreless innings with two strikeouts.
Tomorrow’s winner-take-all game will be at 12:00pm MT at Smith’s Ballpark. The game will be heard live on ESPN 700.
Utah head coach Bill Kinneberg postgame:
Photo credit: Utah Baseball