ARLINGTON – Utah scored a run in the bottom of the seventh and then pitched out of a bases-loaded jam Saturday afternoon as the Utes beat ACU, 9-8, in the UT-Arlington / Hilton Invitational at Clay Gould Field.
The Wildcats' fourth straight loss drops them to 6-6 on the season, while the Utes won their second straight in the tournament to improve to 7-6 on the year. Utah beat UT-Arlington, 5-0, on Friday and will take on Missouri State on Sunday. ACU, meanwhile, will close out its run in the invitational on Sunday with a 3 p.m. game against UT-Arlington.
ACU will then be on the road later in the week when the Wildcats play at Texas Tech at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and then at Oklahoma State at 3 p.m. Thursday. The Wildcats will return home for a three-game weekend series against East Central (Okla.).
ACU trailed 8-5 before scoring three runs in the top of the sixth inning to knot the score at 8-8. The Utes, however, got a run in the bottom of the seventh off Brady Rodriguez to take a 9-8 lead.
With one out in the eighth inning, Seth Spivey and Aaron Draper drew back-to-back one-out walks before Kyle Giusti grounded out to move the runners to second and third. Brandon Grudzielanek was intentionally walked to bring Tyler Eager to the plate to face Nick Green. Eager fouled off the first five pitches he saw from Green before swinging and missing at the sixth to end the inning, leaving the bases loaded.
The Wildcats collected 10 hits on the day, but once again left too many scoring chances on the bases. ACU left one on in the first, two on in the third, one on in the fourth, two on in the sixth and three on in the eighth. The Wildcats have left 34 runners on base in the current four-game losing streak.
Green set the Wildcats down in order in the ninth to pick up his fifth save of the season.
Utah jumped out to a 4-0 lead with a pair of runs in the first inning and two more in the second before ACU got the game tied with a four-run third inning. Draper had an RBI double that drove in Colton Hall before Giusti singled up the middle to drive in two runs. Eager then singled through the right side to drive in Giusti with the tying run.
Utah scored once in the bottom of the third and ACU answered with a run in the fourth to second the game to the fifth tied 5-5. Utah answered in the fifth with three runs to take an 8-5 lead before ACU got back in it with three runs of its own in the top of the sixth.
After Heath Beasley scored on a double steal to make it 8-6, Grudzielanek singled up the middle to drive in the tying runs, sending the game to the seventh tied 8-8.
Spivey continued his hot start to the season by going 2 for 4 with an RBI, while Grudzielanek and Giusti had a pair of RBI apiece. Rodriguez was saddled with the loss to fall to 0-1.