Baseball: Four games in four days

By By Cody Brunner and By Cody Brunner

By Cody Brunner

The Utah baseball team’s chances of righting the ship and leveling itself at .500 won’t get easier.

Carrying a 10-12 overall record on the season, Utah will face four games on four consecutive days against a paltry Utah Valley State College team (4-17-1). The first game between the Utes and Wolverines is in Orem tonight at 7 p.m.

“This week is going to be a tough week,” Utah head coach Bill Kinneberg said. “We play four straight games, three at night and one day game, and it’s important that our concentration level remains where it has been.”

Whether it is because of their competition or because they’ve finally found their niche, the Utes are on a three-game winning streak. They beat the Wolverines on Tues. March 25, then followed up with a pair of convincing wins over conference doormat Air Force on Friday and Saturday. A Sunday game against the Falcons was canceled because of inclement weather.

The U offense and defense both impressed in the three games that were played. Utah averaged 12.3 runs per game during the stretch, and pitchers Stephen Fife and Brian Budrow both threw one-hitters. Fife’s performance was a dash short of genius, considering he pitched a complete game as well.

“I think we’re playing all-around good baseball, both offensively and defensively,” Kinneberg said. “I feel as though we pitched extremely well throughout the week.”

This week, Kinneberg and Co. will see the Wolverines again. UVSC has lost six straight and nine of its last 10 games, but held strong against the Utes the last time the two teams met. In the end, it was the Ute offense that proved to be too much for UVSC as it scored at least one run in each of the last six innings.

As he has done most of the season, catcher Jesse Shriner led the Utes in the game by hitting 4-for-5 with a pair of doubles.

Defensively, the Utes used a pitcher-by-committee method against the Wolverines the last time the two teams met, throwing in seven different pitchers over the course of the game.

“Those Tuesday games kind of put you in an odd position for your weekend games,” Kinneberg said. “We planned to use as many as possible on Tuesday so they could still pitch against Air Force (last) weekend.”

With four games on four consecutive days this time around, the Utes will be forced to stick to their guns for a much longer period of time.

“We need to make sure that the progress we’ve been making over the last couple of weekends continues into this week,” Kinneberg said.

After playing tonight in Orem, the two teams will return to Salt Lake City for games on Thursday and Friday at 6 p.m. at Franklin Covey Field. They will then finish out the series in Orem on Saturday at 1 p.m.

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