March 4, 2010
Live Audio vs. Cal Poly Friday -- Friday Gametracker
SURPRISE, Arizona - Utah Valley was edged 5-4 by undefeated Florida International to open the eighth annual Coca-Cola Classic baseball tournament on Thursday night in Surprise, Arizona.
The Wolverines (4-4) got a 4-for-4 night from Jace Brinkerhoff and had the senior at third base with two out in the ninth before FIU pitcher Bryam Garcia struck out Billy Burgess to end the game.
A 2-2 tie through seven innings, the Panthers (7-0) scored three times in the top of the eighth to take a 5-2 lead. Wolverine reliever Blake Krahenbuhl retired the first two hitters in the inning before four consecutive singles gave FIU a 4-2 lead. After Brian Whatcott came in to pitch for UVU, an infield single pushed across what turned out to be a crucial run.
In the bottom of the ninth, Goose Kallunki singled to second base to open the inning. An out later and after Kallunki moved to second on a wild pitch, Jake Rickenbach doubled him home to make it a 5-3 game.
With two outs in the inning, Brinkerhoff hit a double to left to plate Rickenbach and get the Wolverines within a run. Brinkerhoff eventually moved to third on a passed ball before Garcia got Burgess to end the game and pick up his first save.
Krahenbuhl (1-1) took the loss for the Wolverines, who got a strong seven inning performance from starter Kyle Beecher. Beecher allowed two runs on five hits while striking out a pair over 7.0 innings.
Florida International scored twice in the second on an RBI double from Yoandy Barroso to take an early 2-0 lead.
Utah Valley came back with two in the fourth on an RBI from Kevin Arendse before Austin Heaps scored on a wild pitch to tie the game.
The Wolverines now face Cal Poly on Friday at 4 p.m. MT. The Mustangs dropped a 12-9 game to No. 2 Arizona State in their opener despite four home runs.