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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Baseball falls to Utah Valley, 5-4, in road upset

The No. 4 Arizona baseball team’s honeymoon was brief, as its five-game win streak came to a screeching halt Wednesday night with a 5-4 loss at Utah Valley.

The Wildcats won back-to-back series at No. 20 Oregon State and at home against then-No. 2 Stanford, and Arizona (21-8, 7-2 Pac-12 Conference) appeared to have finally turned the corner and asserted itself as an elite team.

However, Utah Valley’s (13-11) first baseman, Goose Kallunki, had other ideas.

Arizona beat Utah Valley 12-6 at home earlier in the season, but this time the Wildcats’ offense struggled out of the gate, and the Wolverines made them pay.

Freshman Tyler Crawford made his first career start for Arizona, going 5.2 innings while allowing just three hits and two earned runs.

But even in Crawford’s impressive first start, he was unable to figure out Kallunki.

In the first meeting this season, Kallunki went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs — and tonight was more of the same.

Kallunki hit a solo home run in second inning off of Crawford to give Utah Valley the early lead, and Arizona couldn’t get its bats going.

The Wildcats were hitless through five innings before a bunt single by junior Joey Rickard broke up Jeremy Gendlek’s no-hitter in the sixth.

With freshman Jordan Berger already on base, sophomore Johnny Field loaded the bases with a bunt single off his own.

But even with the bases loaded and no outs, the Wildcats could only muster a sacrifice fly by Alex Mejia, tying the game at one going into the bottom of the sixth.

After Crawford allowed two men to reach base, he was pulled for reliever Lucas Long with two outs in the inning.

But Long couldn’t close out the inning as Kallunki struck again — putting Utah Valley back on top with an RBI single to center field.

The bullpen has been an issue for Arizona all season, and Wednesday’s loss was the same story.

Three middle relievers were used in the seventh, giving up three hits and three runs in the inning to put the Wildcats down 5-1 and in need of another late comeback.

Junior Robert Refsnyder nearly delivered it all with a single swing of the bat in the eighth inning.

Refsnyder hit a three-run homerun — his second in as many games — putting Arizona back in striking distance.

But the Wildcats were unable to capitalize, even with the leadoff hitter Joseph Maggi getting on base to start the ninth inning.

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