Clash of the Lilliputians: MWC doormats face off in baseball

This will be the first weekend series the U baseball team will play where it actually has a better overall record than its conference opponent.

The Utes, 1-8 in conference play, have a great opportunity to pad their record as they head to Colorado Springs to face MWC bottom dweller Air Force.

The Falcons are 5-20 on the season, 0-6 in conference play and are just coming off a tough series against BYU.

The Cougars swept the Falcons in the three game series and did it in impressive fashion. The Falcons were crushed in the first game, 25-2.

The second game was a little more respectable, as the Cougars won 10-4, but in the final game, the score went back to being lopsided as BYU cruised to a 18-5 win.

The Falcons’ other three conference losses came against UNLV in late March.

In that series, the Falcons only scored four total runs. Air Force would have nine conference games under its belt if the series with San Diego State had not been postponed due to snow.

“It’s a good chance to win, but anytime you play there is a chance to win,” U baseball coach Bill Kinneberg said. “We can’t take anyone lightly, we have to play hard.”

The Falcons pitching is nothing that Air Force can be proud of. The lowest ERA for the starters is Paul Pratt, who has an ERA of 8.93.

Mitch Brown will start the series for the Falcons against Utah’s Jason Price.

Brown has a 0-2 record and an ERA of 12.15, while Price is 1-6 on the year with an ERA of 5.09.

Pratt will start for the Falcons in game two and will go up against Matt Crockett. Crockett is 2-6 on the year with a 5.71 ERA. The third and final game of the series will have John Meyers start for only the third time in his career.

On the season, Meyers is 0-3 with an 11.12 ERA.

The third starter for the Utes is still in question. It could be either Chad Cullers, who was the third starter before his injury, Steven Collora or Bryce Freed.

Freed has been the game-three starter for the past few series. Last week, he gave up seven runs in the first two innings and was pulled early.

Even though the pitching has had a few tough outings, all in all the pitching has kept the Utes in just about every ball game that they have played.

The Ute offense, on the other hand, has been shaky over the past few weeks.

“I don’t understand [the slump], but I know we have to keep working on it,” Kinneberg said.

The bats will have a great chance to come alive this weekend. Facing the worst pitching team in the conference could yield big numbers for a shaky offense.

The series starts Friday in Colorado Springs at 2 p.m. Game two will be Saturday at 1 p.m. and the final game will be Sunday at noon.

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