Nick Green ranks second in the Pac-12 in ERA.
March 12, 2014
SALT LAKE CITY - The Utah baseball team plays at home for the first time this season, opening Pac-12 play against fourth-ranked Oregon State with a three-game series beginning on Friday, March 14, at 6:00 p.m. MT. The series continues on Saturday, March 15, at 1:00 p.m. and Sunday, March 16, at 1:00 p.m.
"We're looking forward to playing at home," Utah head coach Bill Kinneberg said. "It's been a long four weeks of hard travel and our guys have hung in there very well, and it's time to play at home. We're looking forward to it."
The first 1,000 fans in attendance on Friday will receive a free schedule magnet. Former Utah player and former major league player Chris Shelton will be throwing out the first pitch. Friday also features Utah's season-long 'Black Friday' promotion, where fans wearing black receive free admission.
Utah will be holding a baseball card giveaway all season long, with new players handed out at each game throughout the year. The first 500 fans at Friday's game will receive Nick Green and Brock Duke baseball cards, while Tanner Banks will be handed out on Saturday with Cody Scaggari on Sunday.
Oregon State is 15-3 overall. The Beavers are coming off a College World Series appearance last season, and ranked fourth in the latest National Baseball Writers Association poll with a ranking of fifth by Baseball America.
"Every team in the Pac-12 is good, and Oregon State is exceptional," Kinneberg said. "They got most of their team back from the World Series team last year. They have very talented pitching and some very talented hitters as well. This will be a great challenge for us and a great opportunity for us."
Utah is coming off a 3-1 weekend at the UT Arlington Tournament. The Utes are 8-7 this season.
Utah has had some players suffer significant injuries this season, but Kinneberg has been optimistic about how several players have stepped up in those absences.
"I wish we were full strength," Kinneberg said. "Without Tyler Yagi and Dallas Carroll, and A.J. Young and Braden Anderson also struggling with injuries, we are hanging in there. But that's the way it goes. Guys have stepped up - Biss Larsen has really done a nice job, and Max Schuman, Josh Rose and Hunter Simmons are getting a lot of at-bats and opportunities. Injuries happen, and they give other players opportunities. One good thing is that our pitching staff is in fairly good health, so we're looking forward to the next part of our season and conference play."