The Air Force baseball team hit 12 home runs, five by junior designated hitter Matt Alexander, to sweep Utah Valley in a doubleheader Saturday at Brent Brown Ballpark. The Falcons took game one, 22-21, and game two, 18-14, hitting six homers in both games. The wins improved the Falcons to 10-19 and dropped the Wolverines to 9-21. The two wins also gave Air Force head coach Mike Hutcheon 300 career wins.
Alexander, who entered the weekend with four home runs on the season, erupted for six in the four-game series. Alexander went 8-for-12 on the day, with five homers, eight runs scored and 11 RBIs.
In game one, Air Force staged an improbably rally, scoring seven runs in the ninth inning to pull out the 22-21 win. The two teams combined to hit 11 home runs in the game, six by Air Force and three by Alexander. Alexander became the first Falcon to hit three home runs in a game since Josh Phifer in 2002.
Trailing 21-15, Air Force mounted the rally in the ninth, started by a two-run homer by Alexander. The Falcons tied the game when Blair Roberts scored on an error by the second baseman and took the lead when Addison Gentry drove in Jack Lupo from third on a ground out to first.
Reliever Aaron Kurcz (2-3), who entered the game in the sixth, pitched a scoreless ninth to close out the marathon three-hour and fifty minute game. Kurcz gave the Falcons four innings, striking out a career-high six batters.
The Falcons had 19 hits in the game, with Alexander going 4-for-6 with four runs and six RBIs. Tytus Moss hit his first-career homer for the Falcons, Daniel Walker hit his first of the year and Blair Kessler also homered for the Falcons. Walker went 3-for-5 in the game, with five RBIs. Blair Roberts also had four hits on the day for AFA.
Utah Valley had 22 hits but committed five errors in the game. Third baseman Jace Brinkerhoff (0-1), who also ended up with the loss as a reliever, led the way offensively, going 4-for-6 with a homer and four RBIs. Billy Burgess added two home runs, going 3-for-4 with three runs and four RBIs. UVU starter Jory Jensen pitched five innings, allowing seven runs in five innings.
Air Force starter Andrew Loyd lasted just one inning, allowing eight runs. Jason Griggs, Michael Ceci and Brad Pingel also pitched in relief for the Falcons.
In game two, another seven-run inning lifted the Falcons to the 18-14 win. Trailing 10-8, Air Force scored seven runs in the fifth inning, highlighted by home runs by Kessler and Gentry. The Falcons had a season-high 23 hits in the game.
Alexander went 4-for-6 with two homers, four runs and six RBIs in game two. Walker also had another stellar game, going 6-for-6 with three runs and four RBIs. Walker went 9-for-11 in the day (.818 avg.), scoring six runs and driving in nine runs.
Gentry had two home runs in the game, collecting four hits, four runs and three RBIs. Junior shortstop K.J. Randhawa hit his first career homer and Kessler hit his fourth homer of the year and third of the series. All four of Kessler’s hits so far this year have been home runs. Randhawa was 3-for-4 with three walks, three runs and three RBIs in the game.
Jake Petro (2-4) picked up the win in relief for the Falcons, pitching one inning. Michael Ruvolo, pitching in his third game in the series, picked up the save with 4.2 innings in solid relief. Falcon starter Casey Allen went three innings, allowing nine runs. Griggs also pitched in relief.
Utah Valley had 20 hits on in the game. Kirk Doxy, hitting in the ninth slot, led the way for the Wolverines, hitting three home runs and driving in six. UVU reliever Kyle Beecher (1-3) took the loss, allowing nine runs in three innings. Starter Devin Nelson lasted just 1.2 innings, allowing six runs.
In all, 20 home runs were hit on the day. The two teams combined for 75 runs and 84 hits as well.
Air Force returns to action Tuesday, April 7, hosting Northern Colorado.