April 7, 1998
UTES HOST SPARTANS: The Utah baseball team plays host to San Jose State this weekend for a three game conference series. This will be the first meeting between the two schools since the Spartans joined the Western Athletic Conference in 1996. The series begins with a single nine-inning contest on Thurs., Apr. 9 at Noon. The two teams will meet on Fri., Apr. 10 and Sat., Apr. 11 at noon in single nine-inning games. A kick off at Noon on Fri., Apr. 10. The first game of the double-header will be a seven-inning game, immediately followed by a nine-inning contest. Utah clinched its first WAC Mountain Division title last season, while San Jose State won the Pacific Division.
HOME RUN DERBY: Utah and Brigham Young met last weekend in Provo and the series was highlighted by the offensive power provided by both clubs. The two schools combined for 87 runs, nine shy of last year's total (96). Utah's ERIC WALLACE completed the weekend with three home runs and six RBIs. First baseman JOHN SUMMERS provided the Utes with fire power from the left side, also hitting three home runs and knocking in 12 RBIs. In a return appearance to the Ute lineup, after missing two games with an ankle sprain, CHAD TRUBYwent five for eight with 2 home runs and four RBIs. Utah hurler RICK CLAGETT went the distance in the final game, picking up a 17-10 decision, after allowing an eight run fourth inning, Clagett pitched five innings of shut out baseball.
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). NATE FORBUSH returned to the Ute lineup as a designated hitter against TCU after missing two weeks with a hand injury.
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.
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.
UTAH vs. San Jose State at Franklin Quest - Salt Lake City, Utah Thurs., Apr. 9, 1998 at Noon Fri., Apr. 10, 1998 at Noon Sat., Apr. 11, 1998 - Noon
UTAH (12-23, 2-11 WAC) Projected Starting Lineup C Nate Forbush, 6-2, 220, L-R, Senior 1B John Summers, 6-0, 185, S-R, Junior 2B Ryan Hilts, 6-0, 185, 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 Jared Larsen, 6-0, 190, R-R, Junior
Projected Pitching Rotation for Brigham Young Series Game 1 Lance Ericksen, RHP, 6-2, 195, Junior
Game 2 Rick Clagett, RHP, 6-4, 200, Senior
Game 3 Sean Cawley, LHP, 6-3, 185, Senior