A total of 48 games have been played, including nine Pac-12 series, five midweek contests, and now this weekend is the final opportunity the University of Utah baseball team has to play for the postseason. Utah owns a 24-24 overall record, and stands at 12-15 in conference action, with an RPI of 71. Arizona State — who the Utes will take on Friday through Sunday — is 23-29 overall, 8-19 in the conference and has an RPI of 94.
The Utes know exactly what is on the line for them this weekend, and how important it will be to compete strongly at home. If Utah sweeps the Sun Devils, that alone would most likely not be enough for the Utes to be a part of the postseason. A few things on top of a sweep would have to shake out by Sunday in order for Utah to possibly slide into NCAA Regionals.
Although the team is unknowing about what is in store for it after this weekend, one thing it does know is that it cannot get ahead of itself.
“We can’t focus on what other teams are doing in the conference, or Sunday games, Saturday games,” said third baseman Dallas Carroll. “We just got to focus on ourselves, and control what we can control.”
Where Things Stand
“History shows that a 15-15 team has a chance to get in in the Pac-12,” said head coach Bill Kinneberg. “That means we would have to sweep [Arizona State] and then I think we’re on a real thin bubble at that point meaning that other teams around the country are going to have to either win their conference championships or get out.”
Kinneberg added that it will be determined on Sunday how many teams that are suppose to get in that are one-bid conferences now have two because the winner didn’t win, and their RPI is high enough.
“Those are all things that would come into consideration,” Kinneberg said.
Specifically looking at the Pac-12, Kinneberg believes some movement would have to be made if Utah was going to have a shot.
“Other things in our league would have to happen,” Kinneberg said. “I think that we’d have to finish fifth, and be near 15-15.”
With the same 12-15 conference record, Utah is tied with Washington for sixth place in the league. Oregon State already clinched the Pac-12 title and is followed by Stanford, UCLA, Arizona and Cal in the standings.
The Utes are 11-9 at home, and with 15-15 being a record that has proven enough to get into the postseason, going off of that, they would need to improve to a home record of 14-9, then wait and see what happens in the conference and country to see if history will sneak back up.
On the road this season, Arizona State is 6-13 with away wins coming against TCU, USC, Oregon, Arizona, Washington and Seattle.
The Utes have swept one team this season at home, and that was earlier this month against USC.