The sun is out and the warm air has arrived — perfect weather for some baseball. And as luck would have it, the Utes will welcome in California for a weekend series at Smith’s Ballpark starting Friday.
Utah (8-15) will be on a shorter rest period after their victory over BYU on Tuesday, but should find some added motivation playing in its first home series of the season.
California (18-6) has had a great start to its season and is currently 5-1 in conference play. The Bears, like the Utes, had a mid-week game this week losing to Fresno State on Wednesday, 7-2.
Utah’s offense, which has been the topic for improvement since last year, has been improving but has seen some inconsistent play as of late. The team split their first two Pac-12 series, winning against Arizona and being swept against UCLA.
“We still feel pretty good,” Davis said. “We’ve seen what we can do, so we’re excited to go up against Cal this weekend. Just find a way to be more consistent and come out and do it consistently because we’ve seen what our bats can do and we’re excited to keep that rolling.”
Junior Kody Davis said the teams offense started coming along against Kansas in early March, and the Utes have tried to carry that momentum through the deep part of their season.
“We saw a lot of the things our offense could do,” Davis said. “Getting bunts down and executing on the little things and that’s what really got us rolling out in Kansas.”
The pitching staff has been doing all they can and more to keep opposing offenses off the board to give the offense all the time they need to score runs. Senior pitcher Brock Duke said that he knows how good the pitching staff — both starters and bullpen — can be and that they’ll need to keep playing at a high level.
The pitching staff will have to be on their A game as the Golden Bears lead the Pac-12 in home runs with 23.
“We’re just going to keep trying to keep our team in the ball game,” Duke said. “Keep trying to throw strikes and get ahead of guys, put up zeros. Usually after our team scores, [if we] put up zeros, that’s a really big thing. We’ve got the arms we know we can do it.”
Junior Bret Helton will get the start on Friday, junior Dalton Carroll will be on the mound on Saturday and freshman Jayson Rose will conclude the series on Sunday.