Air Force provides hope for U baseball

The U baseball team has a good chance to pad some wins on a very dismal start to the season.

The team (5-16, 1-6) is headed to Colorado Springs this weekend for a three-game series against the only team that is behind them in the Mountain West standings-Air Force (5 24, 0-6). The first game begins Friday at 2 p.m.

Both teams are coming off being swept, with the Falcons dropping two games to Northern Colorado in a doubleheader on Tuesday, 11 6 and 15-3, and the Utes dropping all three games of a series to BYU last weekend, 13-3, 5-4 and 11-10.

But the tide is seemingly in Utah’s favor, at least for this series, as they meet a Falcons team on an 11-game losing streak. The Utes are on a four-game skid.

Jason Price starts the series on the mound for the Utes Friday, sporting the best ERA of the three probable starters (5.48), against the Falcons’ Mitch Brown, with an 8.37 ERA.

However, it is the U bats which will have to set the stage and inevitably decide the Utes’ fate.

In the last two of three against BYU, Utah lost by merely one run, both times losing in extra innings.

On the other hand, while the Falcons seemed like they had the UNC Bears under control in their first game on Tuesday, leading 6-3, they completely lost control as the Bears scored four runs in the fifth inning to take the lead and the game.

In the second game, UNC scored seven runs in the first two innings, never giving the Falcons a chance to compete.

Currently, the Utes are batting .267 as a team, while Air Force sits at .291, second in the MWC.

But the Falcons’ pitching staff has a combined 10.69 ERA, easily the worst in the conference, compared with Utah’s 6.47 ERA, which sits nearly in the middle of the six-team conference.

The team will look to outfielder Matt Ciaramella, leading the Utes with a .333 average, and shortstop Ryan Khoury, at .330, to take advantage of the Falcons’ pitching woes and lead the Ute offense. After playing just more than one-third of the season and posting just five wins, the Utes need to turn it around to set the tone for the remaining 33 games of the season.

It seems like there’s nowhere better to start than against the Falcons.

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