April 9, 2010
OREM, Utah - Zane Gray tossed a complete game five-hitter and the Utah Valley offense pounded out 17 hits to run past North Dakota 12-2 to open the Great West Conference season on Friday night at Brent Brown Ballpark.
Gray allowed just two runs and struck out a pair in his 107-pitch effort, the first nine-inning complete game for the Wolverines (11-12, 1-0) since the 2008 season.
"He pitched great. It was an outstanding effort by him," said UVU head coach Eric Madsen of Gray. "At the plate our approach wasn't great early on but we did enough when it mattered and took advantage of some miscues."
UVU got production all over its lineup. Leadoff man Jake Rickenbach pushed his average above .400 with a 4-for-5 day. Three-hole hitter Jace Brinkerhoff went 3-for-6 and the ninth place hitter in the order, Cole McWhorter, also had three hits.
Billy Burgess and Austin Heaps had two hits apiece with Heaps driving in two on a sixth-inning home run. Chris Benson extended his hitting streak to 21 games with a double in the seventh inning.
The Wolverines went an unconventional route in scoring early on. A balk by UND starter Travis Clifton scored Goose Kallunki in the second inning before two errors on the same play allowed Sage Thorpe to score from first on a base hit to right by Brinkerhoff in the third. Brinkerhoff later scored in the inning on Clifton's second balk of the game.
Up 4-0 in the fifth, UVU added three more runs with two outs when McWhorter singled home Burgess, Heaps scored on a passed ball and Rickenbach brought home McWhorter with a base hit up the middle.
The Fighting Sioux (4-16, 0-1) got their runs on a solo home run by Jake Magner in the sixth and another solo shot, by Andrew Gudmunson, in the seventh.
Utah Valley's final runs came in the seventh on runs batted in from Thorpe, Brinkerhoff and Benson.
The series continues with a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 1 p.m.