Play ball! Oh wait, nevermind?don’t

When you’ve been away from home for a solid month and a half, one more day probably won’t make much of a difference. But one more day is exactly how much longer the U baseball team will have to wait before finally hosting its home opener.

That was supposed to be the story for Monday. The inclement weather was no longer a problem; it was sunny and bright and temperatures rose to the high 60s. Solid baseball weather. And yet even with the Utes and Gonzaga Bulldogs ready to go for an afternoon matinee, the game was delayed and finally cancelled because the grass at Franklin Covey Field was just too wet.

Conditions at the field — the home for local minor-league team the Salt Lake Bees which doubles as the co-home for the Utes during the season — will apparently still not be ready tomorrow. And so the first and, now, only game of the series with Gonzaga will take place Tuesday afternoon at Ute Field, with the first pitch slated for 1 p.m.

The Utes enter Tuesday’s contest on a modest two-game roll, having taken the final two games of a series with Southern Utah over the weekend. The three games in Cedar City were actually the Utes’ first games in the state of Utah this season. Like other clubs in cold-weather areas, the Utes always have to begin their season with a length non-conference road trip because of the unpredictability of local weather.

Once the U’s home season officially kicks off Tuesday, the team’s schedule will settle down a bit. The Utes will go on two more road trips this month — facing off against Portland and New Mexico — but from then on will play most of their games in state. At one point, the team will play 16 straight games in Utah, including 14 at home.

In terms of the rest of the conference, the imbalanced early season schedule has made it difficult for one to gauge the Utes’ progress compared with the rest of the league, statistically at least. The team has played just 16 games, while, for instance, UNLV has played 24, San Diego State 22 and New Mexico 21. But even having played the fewest games of any other club in the conference, senior third baseman Jay Brossman is sixth in the MWC in RBI (17) and total bases (42) and leads the league with four round-trippers, while also ranking second in slugging percentage at .627.

Meanwhile, Corey Shimada is second in the league in triples and he and leadoff man Nate Burnham are both in the top-10 in walks.

The Bulldogs, meanwhile, are an even 10-10, having just dropped two of three to the BYU Cougars in Provo.