GRAND FORKS, N.D. - Utah Valley rallied with three two-out runs in the bottom of the seventh to defeat NYIT 5-3 in the first championship quarterfinal game of the 2011 Great West Tournament at Kraft Memorial Field.
NYIT (18-31) jumped out early, taking a 2-0 lead in the top half of the third off UVU starter Preston Olsen (4-0). With runners on the corners, Eric Cos hit a single to right field that easily scored Effrey Valdez, but an error by Utah Valley's rightfielder Billy Burgess allowed Jerry Smith to score all the way from first on the play.
The Wolverines (32-22) sliced the Bears lead in half on a Cole McWhorter RBI single to left center that plated Willie Pratt.
Kirk Doxey, who went 2-for-3 with two runs scored in the game, tied the game at 2-2 with his third home run of the season.
Rob Cafiero broke that tie with a sacrifice fly, scoring George Carroll for a 3-2 Bears advantage.
NYIT's starter John Duggan (3-5) looked to be in control in the bottom half of the seventh by getting the first two outs, but Burgess started the two-out rally by belting a double down the left field line. Burgess later scored the game-tying run on a fielding error by NYIT's second basemen Steve McNamara. Then with the bases loaded, all-conference first-team Chris Benson hit a double down the right field line, scoring Doxey and Pratt as UVU grabbed their first and only lead of the game.
The Bears knocked on the door in the top of the ninth with Valdez - representing the game-tying run - at the plate, but UVU's reliever Josh Swenson forced Valdez to line out sharply to left field ending the game.
Swenson collected his fifth save of the year allowing just one hit in two innings of work.
Utah Valley will now play the winner of the game between No. 3 seed Houston Baptist and No. 7 seed North Dakota on Thursday night at 7 p.m. NYIT plays No. 2 seed Northern Colorado in an elimination game at 4 p.m. tomorrow.
- GWC -