Top of the Order Keeps Utah Alive
May 31, 2009
FULLERTON, CA - Utah's Tyler Yagi finished 5-for-5 with three runs scored and the top three batters in the Utes lineup contributed 10 of the team's 17 hits on the day as fourth-seeded Utah stayed alive in the 2009 NCAA postseason by eliminating third-seeded Gonzaga, 9-7, on Sunday afternoon at Goodwin Field in front of 1,285 fans.
The Utes improved to 28-30 overall and will meet host and top-seeded Cal State Fullerton at 6 p.m., needing two victories over the Titans to move on to the Super Regional round. The Bulldogs finished their 2009 season with a 36-18 overall record.
It was a career day for Yagi, who helped set the table for a potent Utes offense that has scored 20 runs and banged out 33 hits in their two elimination games since an opening night loss to Cal State Fullerton on Friday by an 18-2 count.
Lead-off hitter Corey Shimada finished 3-for-4 with a pair of runs and an RBI while three-hole hitter Nick Kuroczko was 2-for-5 with three runs driven in. C.J. Cron and Rick Cornu also finished with multiple hits on the day.
Bryn Card (6-2) earned the win on the mound for Utah, going seven innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on nine hits while striking out seven. Ryan Carpenter (6-4) suffered the loss for the Bulldogs, allowing five runs on eight hits and also striking out seven in just 4 1/3 innings of work.
Cron's one out double in the fifth scored Yagi to snap a 4-4 tie and opened the floodgates for the Utes, who put up three runs in the sixth on an RBI single by Yagi and a two-run triple by Kuroczko to make it 8-4. An RBI single by Saturday night hero Michael Beltran gave Utah a five-run lead, but Gonzaga would begin to chip away to close to within two runs.
Anthony Synegal's RBI single in the seventh and a pair of runs in the eighth on a triple by Evan Wells and a sac fly by Drew Heid off reliever Greg Krause closed the gap, but the Bulldogs were unable to get any closer.
Krause got a fly ball to end the eighth and stranded the tying runs on base in the ninth to nail down the victory.
Wells finished 3-for-4 with two runs and a pair of RBI to pace Gonzaga while three other Bulldogs finished with two hits.