Baseball faces four-game Cal State stretch

By Tony Pizza, Sports Editor

A week after getting its first taste of dirt, the U baseball team will look to improve against Cal State Bakersfield this weekend.

The Utes exploded for 18 runs in their first two games of the season and split their opening pair with Loyola Marymount before combining for just two runs in a Sunday doubleheader that got pushed back because of darkness Saturday.

Junior third baseman Nick Kuroczko hit .462 in the series, including two triples, and had three runs and three RBIs.

Friday starter Brian Budrow got roughed for five earned runs in 4.2 innings on the bump, including four runs after his team jumped to a 4-0 lead in the first inning.

Bryn Card finished out the weekend with seven strong innings, allowing just three runs and five hits, which kept Utah within striking range if not for a .222 average as a team in the series finale.

Despite its first game on real dirt, Utah managed a .955 fielding percentage, committing just seven errors during the four-game set.

Utah will have to deal with a potent runner offense that features Kyle Richardson, who hit for the weekend cycle last week against St. Louis. Bakersfield is also bolstered by two strong starters in Erik Draxton and Jonathan Montoya, who both went over seven innings and allowed just five runs combined in the team’s two weekend wins.

Utah will play the first game Friday, then a doubleheader on Saturday before wrapping up the series Sunday.

Tony Pizza