Junior pitcher Sam Leach earned a complete game shutout Friday afternoon as the University of Northern Colorado baseball team began a weekend home series against Utah Valley University.
“I threw a lot of strikes and trusted my defense behind me,” Leach said.
The Bears came into the weekend on a nine game losing streak, dropping all the games in series with California Baptist University and New Mexico State University. UNC played the first of four games with Utah Valley Friday afternoon with Leach starting for the Bears.
Leach started the game well by earning two strikeouts in the first two innings. He finished the game with four.
UNC earned its first runs of the game in the bottom of the third inning off of junior Jake Gitter’s seventh home run of the season, and an RBI double from junior Josh Glenn that scored Leach from second base.
Leach retired the next six Utah Valley batters as the Bears entered the bottom of the fifth inning with a two-run lead.
The middle of the Bears lineup came to life with four runs scored on four consecutive hits in the fifth. Leach extended his hitting streak to 17 games after a single scored junior Ben McKay. Glenn picked up his second hit of the game and earned his conference-leading 24th RBI.
“We are starting to trust our preparation,” Leach said. “We are always working, and when the games come its time to trust it.”
Senior Matt Burkart hit a single and brought Glenn home from second base. Burkart later scored on a fielder’s choice from freshman Blake Tweedt and the inning ended with a strikeout from Billy Moreland.
The Bears tacked on two more runs in the sixth inning after McKay picked up his third home run of the season and scored freshman Shaydon Kubo from first base. UNC added two more runs in the sixth and seventh inning, stretching its lead to 10. Leach earned his second complete game of the season and gave the Bears the series opening win.
The Bears picked up another win over Utah Valley on Saturday, before dropping the following two games, bringing their record to 6-17, and 2-10 in conference play. UNC’s upcoming home games against Seattle University this weekend have been canceled, but the Bears will face Grand Canyon University in Phoenix next weekend.