UTAH vs. Grand Canyon
Thurs., Apr. 23, 1998 - 7 p.m.
Fri., Apr. 24, 1998 - 7 p.m.
Sat., Apr. 25, 1998 - 1 p.m. (DH)
Sun., Apr. 26, 1998 - 1 p.m.
UTAH (14-27, 4-15 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 Grand Canyon 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 Game 4 TBA
Game 5 TBA
UTES MEET NORTH LEADERS GRAND CANYON: The Utah baseball team travels to the valley of the sun to meet Grand Canyon in a five-game series. All five are Western Athletic Conference games, two games are make-up games from the series in Salt Lake which were snowed out. Grand Canyon (21-20, 9-10 WAC) leads the North by two games over Brigham Young and has a five-game lead over the Utes (14-27, 4-15 WAC). The `Lopes and Utes have one previous meeting this season, Grand Canyon picked up a 12-10 victory. The series begins with two single nine-inning contest on Thurs., Apr. 23 at 7 p.m and Fri., Apr. 24 at 7 p.m.. The two teams will meet on Sat., Apr. 18 in a 1 p.m. double-header and Sun., Apr. 19 at 1 p.m. in a single nine-inning game. It is a homecoming for two current Ute coaches, Tim Esmay and John Flores. Esmay, an Arizona native and Arizona State graduate, served as an assistant coach for the `Lopes in 1995, while Flores played at GCU from 1991-92 and coached for his alma matter one season prior to joining the Utah staff. Ute assistant Todd Delnoce also spent time in Phoenix, playing infield for Arizona State and was a member of the Sun Devils 1993 and 1994 College World Series Teams.
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.