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The Utes and the Wolverines didn't put out their aces on Wednesday night, but they certainly wanted to win it.
It was Utah Valley (5-15) that stretched a winning streak at Smith's Ballpark to three games, pouncing on a less-than-stellar pitching night from Utah (9-9) for a 9-7 victory on Wednesday night.
It was a tight game late, as the teams played the final two-and-a-half innings with a margin of two or fewer runs. But after Utah closed out the ninth with star left-hander Dylan Drachler, UVU answered with its own 1-2-3 shutdown against the top of the Utes' order.
It concluded a gritty effort in which the teams threw a combined 12 pitchers and scored a combined 16 runs … but high-scoring affairs are nothing new in this rivalry.
"It's just two in-state schools trying to get after it, trying to get that W," UVU shortstop Paul Estrada said. "It's just a matter of trusting our ability."
Estrada was one of the day's surprising heroes: He notched four RBIs on two hits at the bottom of the order. Five of UVU's 11 overall hits came from the bottom third of its lineup.
Coach Eric Madsen said his relatively inexperienced group has been struggling with execution on two strikes and two outs both areas in which they excelled in their rival matchup.
"It's a midweek game, those get tough on the arms and tough on a lot of stuff," the coach said. "To win right now is a big deal. It was good to see these guys, just the way they kept on pressure."
Jason Jourdan (1-0) earned the win with two innings of work, while Patrick Wolfe earned his fourth save of the year with only five pitches in the ninth as he retired the side. Utah freshman Jacob Rebar (2-3) was tagged with the loss after five innings, five hits and three walks.
The opening innings had a trade of body blows from the two rivals, who piled up a combined 50 runs in only three meetings last season.
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