Baseball: Utes look to pull off first win against SUU

By By Cody Brunner and By Cody Brunner

By Cody Brunner

The U baseball team has found just about every way to lose a game so far this season.

The team has lost by eight runs twice, and by one run three times. The Utes have seen seven-run leads vanish and they’ve also staged rallies to stay in the game late.

Despite all their hardships, good news is on the horizon for head coach Bill Kinneberg and the Utes (0-7). They play a three-game series at Southern Utah starting today.

“We’ve seen some good things in the first two weekends,” Kinneberg said. “We’re looking to get outside this weekend so we can continue to make the adjustments that need to be made.”

The team will try to snap a 12-game losing streak that dates back to last season when it faces the Thunderbirds over the next three days.

The chances for a Ute win have never been better. Although Southern Utah boasts a 5-1 record, its wins have come against the likes of Dixie State, Utah Valley State and Central Michigan — not exactly the caliber of opponents Utah has played this season.

Last year, the Utes beat the Thunderbirds three of the four times the two teams met. Southern Utah retains seven starters from that team. In contrast, Utah can have six new starters on the field at any given time.

Thus far, the youthful, inexperienced Utes have proven to be just that. The inability to practice outdoors has proved costly as the Utes have committed a number of errors in the field.

Additionally, after a stellar initial weekend, the Utah pitching staff struggled against UC-Davis last weekend and, as a result, the Utes allowed an average of 11.25 runs per game.

The first seven games haven’t been all disappointment though.

Kinneberg is pleased with where his team is at the plate. Catchers Cody Guymon and Jesse Shriner, who rotate between catching and designated hitter duties, lead the Utes at the plate. Both carry seven-game hitting streaks into this weekend’s series, and Shriner has been responsible for three doubles and two home runs.

Additionally, Utah shortstop Michael Beltran has experienced a resurgence as of late. After going 1-for-11 in his opening weekend against San Jose State, Beltran bounced back by hitting 7-for-16 against the UC-Davis.

“We’ve swung the bats well for this early in the season,” Kinneberg said. “That’s encouraging to us.”

On the other side of the diamond, Southern Utah boasts a slugger of its own. Chester Wilson leads the team with an impressive .565 batting average and has produced two homeruns.

The first game begins at 1 p.m. today. The teams will then play tomorrow at 1 p.m. before finishing the series on Saturday,

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