Weekend sweep for USU sluggers
Published: Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, April 9, 2013 12:04
It’s amazing what a little home cooking can do.
After battling tough opponents away from home to begin the season, the No. 8 Utah State baseball club finally returned to Providence Field over the weekend and swept their three-game homestand against conference foe Weber State.
“We came out with three strikes, we fielded the ball, we did everything needed to win this weekend and that’s what happened,” pitcher Robert Garrett said.
Last season, the Wildcats were the last team to beat the Aggies before Utah State reeled off 14 consecutive victories in route to winning the National Club Baseball Association World Series. At home this year, however, Utah State made sure the games weren’t left in doubt, pummeling Weber State with superb pitching and hitting.
“I would say our pitching was probably the best I’ve seen it so far this year,” pitcher Cole Godfrey said. “Our pitching definitely won these games. Obviously our hitting did a lot too, but our pitching definitely was the best this weekend.”
Left fielder Jordan Hansen agreed the difference in pitching was a key factor in the Aggie wins.
“Our pitching definitely got us through that first game,” Hansen said. “They kind of ran out of pitching there in games two and three and we capitalized on that, took advantage and put up almost 20 runs in two games together.”
Garrett said it was nice to have last year’s famed offensive attack back, which seemed to have a positive impact on all facets.
“We came out and really hit the ball this weekend,” he said. “It’s something that we struggled a little bit with in the past, and so it’s good to see that we’re coming around there. We played really good defense.”
Utah State 9, Weber State 6
The Aggies started slowly but quickly built up speed in a back-and-forth affair, eventually scoring four runs in the bottom of the seventh to break the game open.
“Friday night we hit the ball well,” Hansen said. “Took us a little bit to get going during the game.”
Hansen was a key factor at the plate for the Aggies, tying with Colton Anderson for the team lead with three RBIs while delivering some crucial hits. Utah State held a slight lead at 5-4 before the seventh inning frenzy, and Godfrey entered as closer and calmly pulled out the victory.
“We started out pretty slow, but we ended up pulling together there at the end and kind of ran away from them,” Godfrey said.
Utah State 7, Weber State 2
From the first inning on, Utah State made sure the game wasn’t in doubt, scoring six quick runs and giving starting pitcher Sixto Cabrera the lead.
“Kind of took their momentum away before they could get it going,” Hansen said. “I got some good base hits with guys in scoring position. I think one of them put us in the lead, and the others were just pounding it on them to take their momentum away.”
Kolton Anderson belted a three-run home run and Hansen chipped in two more RBIs. Cabrera would go five scoreless innings before allowing two runs in the top of the sixth. Trevor Zubek and Payton Davis finished off the game from the mound for the Aggies.
“We jumped out pretty quick and kind of let the pedal off in the first game,” Godfrey said. “In the second game, we just kept the pedal going and 10-runned them.”
Utah State 10, Weber State 0 (5 innings)
Another Utah State six-run first inning dampened any hope for the Wildcats and led to the game being called after the fifth inning.
“Today we came out and jumped on them early both games,” Hansen said.
Hansen was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Anderson followed and was also hit, scoring the first run. Outfielder Matt Stranski next hit a two-run single, and the scoring was on. Garrett was the starting pitcher and said the lead helped him shut the Wildcats down.
“It’s always nice to pitch with a lead, makes you relax a little more and throw some strikes,” he said.
After walking the first batter he faced, Garrett was lights-out, allowing only one hit and striking out two while going the distance.
“My arm felt really well, I felt like everything was working for me,” he said. “After the first inning I got in a groove. Our defense was errorless today, which makes it really easy for a pitcher.”
The same couldn’t be said for the Wildcats, who walked six and hit four batters in the game. After Anderson was hit a second time, a slight flare up between teams ensued, but the Aggies quickly doused the fire and went on to victory.
Utah State will hit the road again this weekend, traveling to Price to face USU Eastern Junior College before returning home the following week to face UVU at Providence Field.