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Baseball Falls 5-4 to FIU in Opener in Arizona
March 4, 2010
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.
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.
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.