Ute Josh Rose hits the ball during the Utes 1-11 loss against the Oregon Ducks at Smiths Ballpark in Salt Lake City, Utah on Friday, Mar. 31, 2017. (Rishi Deka, Daily Utah Chronicle)

After dropping its first two series in conference play, the University of Utah baseball team gained some confidence after clinching the series against Oregon by taking two of the three games. The Utes put their foot down and dominated the two games they won, 11-5 and 13-1.

“The biggest thing for me is that I saw my team back again this weekend,” said head coach Bill Kinneberg. “The way they carried themselves, the way they went about it. That’s what I saw the first five, four weeks of the season, and that’s something that we were missing. I’m very proud of them.”

It was almost as if the team could breathe a quick sigh of relief after Sunday evening’s game. Knowing that a Pac-12 series win was finally under its belt and momentum was swinging their way.

All It Takes Is a Swing

In the two blowouts against Oregon, Utah had several RBI triples, a few two-run home runs and with the bases loaded it drove in runs. That was the opposite of what this team was previously doing — not capitalizing and stranding runners on base had been destroying the offense. As things began to click and batters all the way down the lineup began to get hot, the Utes’ fire could not be put out.

“We’re very capable of doing that,” Kinneberg said on his team getting those big hits and taking advantage of opportunities. “We’re going to have to operate. We’ve got good hitters. We just have to make sure that when we’re facing really good pitching, like we have been, is that they’ve got to keep grinding and keep going and not get discouraged, and I think that’s what happened to us for those two and a half weeks.”

A total of 29 hits for the Utes between Saturday and Sunday was a big reason for the “W’s” next to the game results. Every Ute in the batting order, minus one, had at least one hit in the finale. Eight of the nine players had at least one run belonging to their name as well.

Lapiana Holding Down the Mound

What a performance it was by the lefty on the mound who closed the series and made the Ducks struggle at the plate. Josh Lapiana pitched eight innings allowing just one run on six hits with a career-high nine strikeouts. He was dominate on the mound and took care of business by finding his groove and sticking to it.

“He was throwing three pitches for strikes,” Kinneberg said. “He was staying ahead of hitters and that’s his key so that he doesn’t have to use a fastball that much … He got quick outs and a low pitch count.”

Lapiana played an important role in helping to keep the Utah defense strong and in control. Improving to 2-3 on the season, he now has a 3.41 ERA.



Brittni Meservy
Brittni Meservy is in her second year with The Daily Utah Chronicle where she began as a sports writer and now serves as the sports editor. She has interned at ABC 4 Utah in the sports department, and she was previously the Editor-in-Chief of The Globe at Salt Lake Community College. Currently, she is a producer and reporter at ESPN 700 radio.


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