Second baseman Corey Shimada has had a solid fall workout.
Oct. 24, 2007
SALT LAKE CITY - The University of Utah baseball team has spent the last month preparing for the 2008 season, and it all culminates this week with an intra-squad scrimmage, the Fall World Series.
The baseball team will be playing its World Series all week at Ute Field. First pitch each day is set for 3:30 p.m., and it will feature a five- or six-inning game.
"Workouts have gone very well for us so far," said veteran head coach Bill Kinneberg. "We have a good evaluation of everyone on the team. Our guys are showing improvement, and they are buying into the system. I think they've done a nice job this fall."
Before the intra-squad scrimmage this week, which ends team workouts for the fall, the Utes played two games against cross-town rival Salt Lake Community College.
"The games against Salt Lake Community College were a good chance for the team to play someone different in a game-like atmosphere," said Kinneberg. "I think we handled it well. I don't think the freshmen had any problems with the college game. They went about their business and did a nice job for us. I was pleased to see that."
Catching the eye of Kinneberg this fall has been the pitching.
"Our pitching has been as good as it has ever been here," Kinneberg pointed out. "Up and down the line, I think we have solid depth on the mound."
The team returns two of its top pitchers from last year in Stephen Fife and John James. With the addition of Robert Chimpky and Brian Budrow to the roster, the pitching staff has proven to be a solid part of the team in fall workouts.
In addition to the battery, returning all-conference honoree and second baseman Corey Shimada has had a nice fall, as has the returning centerfielder Nate Burnham. Freshman Michael Beltran has also come in and adapted to the college game very well.
College baseball has enacted some rule changes for the 2007-08 competition season. From now on, NCAA baseball teams will abide by a uniform start date (which will be Feb. 22 in 2008), and now will have 45 days to conduct 33 fall practices.
With the increased number of fall practices, Kinneberg is pleased with where his team is at as it is about to head into the 2008 season.
"I really like the new rules," Kinneberg said. "We've had more time. We're not rushed to fit everything in to an 18-day practice schedule. We've been able to do more teaching and more evaluation this year.
"We've been able to get more in this fall than we've been able to in the last 10 years."
The 2008 season begins on Feb. 22 in San Jose, Calif. The Utes open the campaign with a four-game series against San Jose State.