Go Utes!
Go Utes!
Utah Baseball Season Outlook: Part 2

Jo Jo Sharrar is a four-year player behind the plate.

Jo Jo Sharrar is a four-year player behind the plate.

Feb. 15, 2012

Click here for part one, featuring the infield and outfield.

The pitching staff is led by closer Tyler Wagner and junior starter Zach Adams, who has struggled with injuries throughout his career but is healthy to start this season. Last year Wagner led the conference and ranked 26th in the NCAA with 12 saves, which also set a single-season record at Utah. He allowed just eight earned runs and had a 2.04 ERA. Adams pitched five games, and his 36 strikeouts were leading the team when he was injured. He had a 2.40 ERA with a 2-0 record, including a win over No. 16 Baylor.

"Both Wags and Adams have a chance to have really great years," Utah head coach Bill Kinneberg said. "They are healthy and strong and have worked extremely hard to get where they're at today."

Junior Joe Pond made 12 starts last season and had a 4.36 ERA with a 4-4 record. His 65 strikeouts ranked 10th in the conference, and he did not allow a home run all season.

Also slated to start on the mound this season are sophomore Ben Mordini and newcomer Tanner Tripp. Mordini made 11 appearances with three starts last year. Tripp was an all-region player at South Mountain CC who had 12 wins.

"Joe Pond is pitching better than he ever has, so we feel like our Friday/Saturday starters are in good shape at this point," Kinneberg said. "Tripp and Mordini will start the other two games of a four-game set, or on Sunday/Tuesday."

The Utes will look to several players in their bullpen for the late innings. Brock Duke was fifth in the conference with six wins last year. Newcomer Tony Vocca had a 9-5 record as a sophomore at Yavapai CC. Josh Chapman had two saves last season, appearing in 12 games.



"A key for us will be our bullpen," Kinneberg said. "Vocca, Chapman and Duke will be important for us in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings so that we can get to Wagner in a winnable situation."

The Utes have a pair of quality players behind the plate in two-year starter Jo Jo Sharrar and newcomer Parker Morin. Sharrar hit .236 last season, making 43 starts. Morin was a first-team all-region player at the College of Southern Idaho, hitting .372.

"We have a really good tandem of catchers with Parker and Jo Jo," Kinneberg said. "Parker has really established himself at the plate and is one of our better hitters. He will be in the lineup every day. Early in the year they will share time behind the plate. We feel really good about our catching situation."

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