Van Sickle’s Complete Game Propels Utah Baseball To Huge Win Over Arizona

May 10, 2024, 3:03 PM

SALT LAKE CITY— Call Bryson Van Sickle a big-game hunter after the redshirt senior threw his second complete game of the year in a 6-1 win over the first-place Arizona Wildcats. The former Westlake prep star needed 108 pitches to become the first U of U pitcher to throw two complete games in the same season.

The Utes opened a three-game series against Pac-12 leader Arizona on Friday, May 10.

RELATED: Senior Kai Roberts Feeling At Home Leading First-Place Utes

“We’re trying to score first, trying to win the first game of the series every time,” senior outfielder Karson Bodily said after going 2-3 with a homer and three RBI. “Setting the tone early is what can help us win the series, and Bryson did an outstanding job today batting the zone and making them off balance.”

With the win, Utah sits one game behind Arizona for the Pac-12 lead after being picked to finish tenth in the conference preseason polls. With six games left in the regular season, the Utes continue to focus on one game at a time.

“We’re doing a really good job competing,” head coach Gary Henderson said after the win. “In terms of the series itself, it’s just the ninth series. When we get done with this one, we’ve got another one next week against SC (USC Trojans), and you’ve got to win all the games that you can. We’d certainly like to end up on top, and to do that, we’ll need to play well tomorrow.”

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Van Sickle continues a dominant stretch of performances since getting his first decision of the year, a win over Cal-State Northridge on April 5. Since that start, the Eagle Mountain, Utah native has been 4-1, with his only loss coming last weekend at Oregon. Showing a willingness to rely on off-speed pitches, Van Sickle has thrown six or more innings in his previous six outings, including three straight single-game career highs in pitches.

“The second time through the lineup he went heavy changeup,” Henderson said of his starting pitcher. “I thought he did a really good job of throwing his curveball for strikes late in the count. It was a great effort by Bryson today.”

RELATED: Utah Baseball Punched Their Ticket To Pac-12 Tournament

“I’ve always had trust in the curveball, I feel like I could throw it in any count. This year, the changeup has really come a long way,” Van Sickle said.

Though the Utes have three games left at Smith’s Ballpark this season, the local product has likely thrown his last pitch as a Ute in Salt Lake City.

“It’s been an amazing opportunity,” Van Sickle said of playing three years so close to home. “It’s really special. I was almost tearing up on that last out with everybody clapping but I held it together.

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Utah plays the Wildcats in two more games over the weekend. The first pitch on Saturday, May 11, is at 11 a.m. MT at Smith’s Ballpark.

The Utes sit atop the Pac-12 regular season standings, tied with the Arizona Wildcats at 14-7 in conference play. Utah received 11 votes in the latest USU Today Top 25.

You can find KSL Sports coverage of the Utes here.

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Van Sickle’s Complete Game Propels Utah Baseball To Huge Win Over Arizona