The Utah baseball team will kick off its 2019 season as they take on Texas State, Missouri State and Nevada this weekend.
The Utes will begin the year coming off of a 16-39 season in 2018, winning the series against teams like BYU, Utah Valley, Arizona, Washington State and even the eventual national champion Oregon State. Outfielder Dashawn Keirsey Jr. was drafted in the fourth round of the 2018 Major League Baseball Draft to the Minnesota Twins, and the Utes are three seasons removed from a Pac-12 Championship.
Utah will enter the season with thirteen freshmen and only six seniors, which makes this a young team with a lot of potential. Chandler Anderson, a senior from Park City, Utah, will be a name to look out for in the outfield this season. Last year, Anderson played and started in forty-four games hitting .243 with eleven doubles, two triples and a home run.
Rykker Tom, a redshirt sophomore from Cedar City, Utah and Oliver Dunn, a junior from Salt Lake City, Utah will be standouts in the infield this season. Tom, a third baseman for the Utes, played and started in 54 games with a .298 batting average, 13 doubles and two home runs. Dunn, a second baseman for the Utes, is the only player to have started all 55 games at second base. Coming off of an All Pac-12 honorable mention season, Dunn is looking to continue his success in the field and at the plate. Last season, Dunn batted .319 with four triples and had 30 double plays turned.
When asked about the season ahead, head coach Bill Kinneberg was adamant about the need to forget last year.
”We’ve got to have a bounce-back year from last year,” Kinneberg said. “We have a lot of young guys that played a lot of innings for us last season back for this year, so I expect a lot out of those guys that are returning. I expect us to be a lot better.”
Texas State is coming off a 30-28-1 season, finishing second in the west division of the Sun Belt Conference. Nevada is coming off of a 29-24 season, winning the Mountain West Conference regular season but narrowly missing out on a College World Series birth, thanks to San Diego State winning the MWC tournament. Missouri State is coming off of a 40-17 season, winning the Missouri Valley Conference and finishing with a regional birth in the College World Series.
The Utes will take on Texas State at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 15, Missouri State at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 16 and Nevada at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 17.