Utah Valley Captures Second Straight GWC Tournament Championship
May 28, 2011
GRAND FORKS, N.D. -
Tournament MVP Chris Benson went 4-for-4 with three RBI and a run scored, starter Zane Gray allowed no earned runs in seven complete innings and Utah Valley defeated Houston Baptist, 5-1, capturing their second straight Great West Conference Tournament Championship on Saturday at Kraft Memorial Field.
The Wolverines (34-22) went a perfect 4-0 as the tournament's No. 1 seed behind quality starting pitching and timely hitting.
Gray was the latest UVU starter to fare well as the senior righthander allowed nine hits, but was able to get out of the trouble without any damage in seven shutout innings to improve to 5-1 on the season.
Benson broke a scoreless tie in the fourth with an RBI double that plated Cole McWhorter all the way from first. After Benson stole third base, Goose Kallunki scored the centerfielder with an RBI groundout as UVU carried a 2-0 lead after four innings.
The game would stay that way until the seventh when UVU loaded the bases with no outs, knocking HBU's starter Dalton Shafer (3-10) out of the game in the process. McWorter made it a 3-0 advantage with a run-scoring sacrifice fly before Benson brought in the next two runs with his second double of the day - this one plating two runs to increase the Wolverines lead to 5-0.
Robbie Buller doubled down the left field line that scored Luke Clements in the bottom half of the seventh as HBU trailed 5-1.
That is all the runs the Huskies (22-40) would get, however, as Utah Valley's bullpen shut the door on HBU.
Shafer allowed four runs on eight hits while striking out three in six innings of work in a losing effort.
2011 Great West Conference All-Tournament Team
Kolby Arnst, Houston Baptist
Collin Hetzler, Houston Baptist
Stephen Nikonchik, Houston Baptist
Beau Warren, Houston Baptist
Tripp Davis, NJIT
Ryan Gerber, North Dakota
David Spies, North Dakota
Casey Coy, Northern Colorado
Marcus Perez, NYIT
Effrey Valdez, NYIT
Chris Benson, Utah Valley (Most Valuable Player)
Billy Burgess, Utah Valley
Blake Krahenbuhl, Utah Valley
Josh Swenson, Utah Valley