Joe Pond enters his third year with the Utah program.
Feb. 13, 2013
Brock Duke, Joe Pond and Mitch Watrous all pitched significant innings last year. Duke and Pond each spent time as the Friday and Saturday starters. Duke has eight wins with 132 career strikeouts, and Pond also has eight wins with 131 career strikeouts. Watrous pitched his way from a relief role to a starting role as a freshman last year. He had a 3.48 ERA.
"They are the experience and strength of our team at this point," Utah head coach Bill Kinneberg said. "We feel like with those three guys who threw significant innings over the last three years, along with bringing in Tanner Banks and Dalton Carroll, who are both quality pitchers who will see a lot of innings."
Banks was a two-time all-region player at Salt Lake Community College. He went 11-0 with a 2.23 ERA last season. Dalton Carroll was a two-time first-team all-state player at Taylorsville High School (Utah) and the 2012 Region 2 Most Valuable Player.
Also joining the staff is Chase Rezac, who transferred from Southern Utah after the Thunderbirds dropped their baseball program. Rezac was chosen in the 26th round of the 2012 Major League Baseball draft. He will also see time at designated hitter after hitting .330 last year at SUU.
"Chase Rezac could be a quality asset to us, whatever his role ends up being," Kinneberg said. "He's got a chance to really help us on both sides of the ball as a hitter as well as a pitcher."
Other players who have seen innings on the mound over the past several years and will continue to play a role include juniors Ben Mordini, Josh Chapman, Nick Green and Luke West. Mordini made eight starts last year on the mound. Chapman went 1-1 with a save and a 3.81 ERA with 29 strikeouts. Green had a 2-1 record over 16 games while West saw action in two games last season.
Utah also has a pair of newcomers behind the plate in junior transfer Konnor Armijo and freshman AJ Young. Armijo hit .282 with seven home runs and 43 RBI at Santa Ana College last season. Young was a four-time all-state player at Gila Bend High School (Gila Bend, Ariz.).
"Both Konnor and AJ will see a lot of playing time early and we will sort it out from there," Kinneberg said. "AJ is the catcher of the future. He has a chance to be an offensive guy as well as a pretty good defensive player. We hope with Konnor coming from junior college he'll bring some leadership and experience. We need them to play good defense and handle our pitching staff."