April 13, 1998
UTAH vs. Southern Utah at Ute Field - Salt Lake City, Utah Tues., Apr. 14, 1998 at Noon (DH) Wed., Apr. 15, 1998 at Noon
UTAH vs. Rice at Franklin Quest - Salt Lake City, Utah Fri., Apr. 17, 1998 at 2 p.m. Sat., Apr. 18, 1998 - 1 p.m. Sun., Apr. 19, 1998 - 1 p.m.
UTAH (14-24, 4-12 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 Sean Cawley, LHP, 6-3, 185, Senior Game 3 Rick Clagett, RHP, 6-4, 200, Senior
UTES HOST SOUTHERN UTAH, NATIONALLY RANKED RICE: The Utah baseball team plays host Southern Utah in a three game series at Ute Field, located on the University of Utah campus between Fort Douglas and the U. Medical Center. The teams will play two seven- inning contests on Tues., Apr.14 at Noon. The series will wrap up on Wed., Apr. 15 in a single nine inning game also at Noon. The Utes will then set their sights on the No.15th ranked Rice Owls (31-13, 18-3 WAC). The Owl and Utes will meet this weekend for a three-game conference series. This will be the first meeting between the two schools since the Owls knocked off the Utes at the 1998 Western Athletic Conference Tournament, 5-4. The series begins with a single nine-inning contest on Fri., Apr. 17 at 2 p.m.
The two teams will meet on Sat., Apr. 18 and Sun., Apr. 19 at 1 p.m. in single nine-inning games. Utah clinched its first WAC Northern Division title last season, while Rice claimed to South title en route to an appearance in the College World Series. The Owls command the South division this season with an 18-3 conference mark, while the Utes (4-12) are five games off leader Grand Canyon. The Utes still have five games remaining with Grand Canyon due to an earlier rainout.
SWINGIN' SUMMERS: Utah first baseman JOHN SUMMERS continues to be a power-hitter in the Ute lineup. Summers leads the team with 18 home runs, 8 blasts coming in WAC games. During the final contest with San Jose State on Sat., Apr. 11, Summers, a switch hitter, hit two home runs one from each side of the plate. In addition to his stellar offensive numbers, Summers plays a solid defense for the Utes at first base. He has a team high 266 put outs, 17 assists and a .976 fielding percentage.
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.