May 4, 2013

Baseball has a walkoff win and extra-inning loss


GREELEY – The Northern Colorado and Utah Valley Baseball teams split a doubleheader on Saturday at Jackson Field as the Bears won game one 4-3 in seven innings before falling in the second game, 11-4 in 10 innings.

The Bears (21-21, 12-6 Great West Conference) got a sacrifice fly from junior Andrew Coffman (Davenport, Iowa) in the bottom of the seventh of game one to win the first in walk-off fashion over the Wolverines (19-24, 10-5 Great West). Coffman had a great day at the plate, going 6-for-8 in the twinbill with two RBI, two runs scored and his first stolen base of the year.

"We're asking him to do a lot and he can," Coach Carl Iwasaki said. "He says 'give me the opportunity' and sure enough, he's been given that opportunity and taken advantage of it. That was a great pitch that he executed on and he hit the outside fast ball."

Northern Colorado's pitching staff also continues to limit the free bases, allowing just three walks on the day and one pass was intentional. In the last six home conference games, the team has given up only five total base on balls.

The Bears had base runners in 16 of the 17 innings played in the two games but scored in just four, stranding 20 runners on base.

Northern Colorado and Utah Valley conclude the series Sunday at noon at Jackson Field.

Northern Colorado had base runners in every inning and took advantage in the second and seventh to defeat Utah Valley 4-3.

In the seventh with the score tied at 3-3, sophomore Ryan Yamane (Honolulu, Hawai'i) singled to center and sophomore Jensen Park (Kaneohe, Hawai'i) sacrificed him to second –with a perfect bunt down the first base line. The Wolverines intentionally walked junior Nick Miller (Loveland, Colo.) to set up the force and junior Colby Harrison (Cheyenne, Wyo.) singled to left to load the bags. Coffman came up and hit a sacrifice fly to right field to plate Yamane and end the game.

"When you give yourself the opportunity to win games like that," Iwasaki said, "that means you are headed in the right direction and that's where we're at."

Yamane, Harrison, Coffman and senior Derek Baum (San Diego, Calif.) all had two hits each in the game, while Yamane, Baum and Coffman each had an RBI.

Junior Josh Tinnon (Niwot, Colo.) pitched six innings for the Bears, giving up three runs on six hits, walking just one and striking out seven, but didn't have a decision. Junior Kevin Willman (Aurora, Colo.) retired the side in order in the seventh for his fourth win of the year (4-2).

Coffman led off the second with a single through the 5-6 hole and after a lengthy at bat, junior Ben Netzel (Loveland) hit a hot shot to first base for a single. Coffman stole his first bag of the year and scored when Baum doubled down the left field line. Sophomore Joe Love (Danville, Calif.) struck out, but a wild pitch allowed him to get to first. The catcher threw to first, but the first baseman misfielded the ball, allowing Netzel to scamper home. Junior Landon Moseley (Lawrence, Kan.) hit a sacrifice bunt and Yamane followed with a sacrifice fly to center for the third run of the inning.

Utah Valley scored one run on two hits in the top of the third for a 3-1 score.

Miller crushed a ball, but Jordy Hart made a great catch up against the wall in left center to rob Miller of extra bases for the first out in the third inning.

The Wolverines knotted the score with a pair of runs on two hits and a sacrifice fly in the fourth.

With one out in the fifth, Harrison singled back up the middle to extend his hitting streak to 10 games and he stole second base for his fifth of the year, but we was left out on the base path.

In the top of the sixth with runners on first and third, Baum made a great stop on a pitch extremely wide of the zone to keep the Wolverines from taking the lead.

Northern Colorado fought back to tie the score at 4-4 in the bottom of the ninth, but Utah Valley scored seven in the 10th for the 11-4 win.

Coffman went 4-for-5, while Love was 3-for-4 and Miller went 2-for-4. Park had two RBI – both in the ninth inning on a double – while Coffman and Netzel had the other two.

Junior Chris Hammer (Greeley) pitched seven complete innings, allowing four runs on eight hits. He didn't walk a batter and fanned seven. Senior Ben Packard (Niwot, Colo.) pitched two scoreless innings, walking one and striking out two.

Willman pitched 2/3 of an inning, allowing four earned runs on two hits with one walk and he hit a batter. He took the loss and moves to 4-3 on the season. Robert Hawkins (Greeley) didn't record an out, but gave up three runs on four hits and junior Lucas Corrick (Lakewood, Colo.) got the final out of the game.

Coffman kept the hot bat going with a double off the wall in left center in the bottom of the second, but he was stranded.

Utah Valley struck first in the nightcap, scoring three runs on four hits with two wild pitches in the third inning.

Miller tripled to the deepest part of the park, blasting the ball about 420 feet to right center, to lead off the sixth inning. With one out, Coffman hit a flare down the right field line for his second RBI of the day and the Bears' first run of the game. Netzel followed with a long double over the left fielder's head and Coffman scored from first to close within one, 3-2.

The Wolverines had two hits in the seventh and plated their fourth run of the game on a wild pitch to extend the lead to two, 4-2.

Willie Pratt singled to start off the UVU eighth, but Baum made another great throw down to second to throw him out for the second time in the series and Packard got the next two hitters out.

Harrison drew a walk to lead off the eighth and Coffman again flared a single to right field. Netzel was asked to bunt and UVU's pitcher, Ryan Evans made a diving catch and quickly threw to Hatch covering second for the double play.

Love singled through the right side on the first pitch of the ninth and Schneider hit a grounder back up the middle that bounced off both the pitching rubber and second base for a single. Park doubled to right-center to score both and knot the score at 4-4. The Wolverines intentionally walked Miller and Harrison walked to load the bases, but the Bears couldn't get the winning run across and extended the game.

Utah Valley exploded for seven runs in the top of the 10th, all with two outs to build an 11-4 advantage. The Wolverines had six hits in the frame as well as an intentional walk and a hit batsman. The Bears were unable to score in their half of the frame for the 11-4 final.

"We're 2-1 and have a chance to come back and take the series tomorrow," Iwasaki said. "The guys are ready to come back and battle and that's all you can do."