Mar. 2, 1998
UNIVERSITY OF UTAH BASEBALL Utah at Fresno State at Fresno, Calif. Fri., Mar. 6, 1998 at 7 p.m. Sat., Mar . 7, 1998 at 7 p.m. Sun., Mar. 8, 1998 at 1 p.m. UTAH (8-11, 0-0 WAC) Projected Starting Lineup C Jared Larsen, 6-0, 185, R-R, Junior 1B John Summers, 6-0, 185, S-R, Junior 2B Ryan Hilts, 6-0, 185, R-R, Junior Zach Rappleye, 5-9, 165, R-R, Junior SS Chad Truby, 6-1, 185, R-R, Senior 3B Ben Marziale, 5-9, 175, R-R, Senior LF Eric Wallace, 6-0, 215, R-R, Junior CF Sam Swenson, 6-0, 170, R-R, Sophomore RF Mike Wood, 6-4, 220, R-R, Junior DH Jed Chrisman, 6-4, 210, R-R, Freshman Projected Pitching Rotation Game 1 Brandon Page, RHP, 6-4, 200, Sophomore Game 2 Ray Clinton, RHP, 6-2, 185, Senior Game 3 Lance Ericksen, RHP, 6-2, 195, Junior
UTES TRAVEL WEST: The University of Utah men's baseball team travels to Fresno, Calif. to open their WAC season with a three games series with Fresno State. The Utes and Bulldogs will face off Fri., Mar. 6 at 7 p.m. and Sat., Mar 7 at 7 p.m. in single nine-inning contests. The series will wrap up with a final nine-inning game on Sun., Mar. 8 at 1 p.m.
UTES FALL TO PACIFIC: The Utah suffered its first sweep of the season at the hands of Pacific in Stockton, Calif. Pacific won the first game with 14-12. Utah's BRANDON PAGE (1- 1) surrendered his first loss of the season. In the loss the Ute sluggers blasted three home runs by JARED LARSEN, RYAN HILTS, and JOHN SUMMERS. Utah fell in Saturday's double- header 4-3 and 6-3. The Utes dropped the final game of the series 6-4.
INJURIES HIT EARLY: Utah has suffered major injuries to key players early in the `98 campaign. The Utes have already lost two starters to season ending injuries: MIKE GOFF(broken arm); and MATT MATEJECK (right knee). Team captain and pre-season all-WAC catcher NATE FORBUSH suffered torn ligaments in his wrist and is expected to be sidelined 2-3 more weeks. Senior pitcher RICK CLAGETT strained his right arm in the third inning against Mesa State. Both Clagett will be available in relief for the Fresno State series.
UTE HEADLINERS: The Utes lost 12 letterman from the 1997 record setting squad and return only 2 position starters (NATE FORBUSH and CHAD TRUBY) and 11 underclass lettermen. As depleted as the batting lineup is, the Ute pitching corps is as deep as they ever have been. The Utes return seven letterman pitchers, but more importantly, return four starters and a primary closer. The following Utes are players to watch during the `98 campaign: pitchers SEAN CAWLEY, RICK CLAGETT, RAY CLINTON, LANCE ERICKSEN and BRANDON PAGE; catchers NATE FORBUSH and JARED LARSEN; infielders CHAD TRUBY and BEN MARZIALE; and outfielder SAM SWENSON.
MAKING AN IMPACT: With the loss of key position players including: All-American centerfielder CASEY CHILD, third baseman CURTIS HALL, first baseman MICHAEL HEIDEMANN, and outfielders MATT EELES and DUSTY ATKINSON. There are obvious holes in the lineup, but not for long when these newcomers make their mark in the Ute lineup: designated hitter/outfielder JED CHRISMAN, infielder RYAN JOHNERSON, utility RYAN HILTS, pitcher BRETT McDERMAID, outfielders ERIC WALLACE and MIKE WOOD.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN: The Utes open the 1998 season with a 26-game road trip. The Ute home opener is on Mar. 20th at Franklin Quest Field against the Air Force Academy.
UTE COACHING STAFF: The Utes are under the direction of second-year head coach TIM ESMAY (42-27-1, Arizona State `88). Esmay guided the Utes to a 36-21-1 record, setting a school record for wins, and the Utes first divisional title since 1965. Esmay played on Arizona State's College World Series Teams and also played at Scottsdale Community College (Ariz.). Esmay served as an assistant coach under one-year Ute head coach Bill Kinneberg. When Kinneberg left for an assistant job at his alma mater, Arizona, Esmay was called upon to fill the coaching void. Esmay did more than fill a void as he led the `97 squad to a banner year that is undoubtedly the best season is school history. Assisting Esmay in his efforts are assistants JOHN FLORES (Grand Canyon `94) and TODD DELNOCE (Arizona State `94). Flores returns for his second season as pitching coach and Delnoce, in his third season, assists in hitting and outfield instruction. New to the staff in `98 is volunteer assistant coach JOE GODRI.