Utah travels to Sacramento State to start 2015 season

The Utah baseball team will travel to California to take on Sacramento State for its season opening series, starting Friday.

The first pitch will finally end months of waiting.

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“It’s been a long, really good six months,” head coach Bill Kinnerberg said. “You know anytime the start of the season…everybody is excited about playing and optimistic about the year going into it. We’re ready physically and mentally so Friday will be a fun day for us.”

After a dismal season in 2014, Utah looks to get an early jump on the Hornets and begin the 2015 campaign on a high note.

Because of the warm weather the team has been able to practice outdoors more than usual at this point in the year and Junior Kody Davis said it must be a good omen because it’s been a disadvantage for the Utes in previous seasons.

With only two seniors on the roster, the Utes will rely heavily on underclassmen, including 14 freshman to carry them through the long season. However, there are players all over the field that have had significant experience and plenty of games under their belts.

Along with Davis, juniors Cody Scaggari and Wyler Smith will lead the Utes at the plate while sophomores Max Schuman and Josh Rose look to build off strong winters.

Davis spoke about the importance of keeping players healthy, something Utah was unable to do a season ago.

“That’s also got to be a big omen for us,” he said. “We’re feeling more healthy than we’ve ever been and that gives us a lot of confidence going in.”

Last year during the Sacramento State series, Utah lost two starters to injuries, one of which was sophomore Dallas Carroll. After sitting out all of last season, Carroll said he is ready to make an impact on the diamond.

“It feels good,” he said. “Especially for being sidelined for so long it kind of put things in perspective. Just can’t wait to get back out there on the field with my boys.”

Utah’s starting pitchers have for the most part been decided for the opening weekend. Junior Bret Helton will start Friday, senior Brock Duke will start Saturday and freshman Jayson Rose will make his first career start on Saturday. Monday’s starter has not yet been announced.

Rose comes to Utah by way of Granite Hills high school in California, where he was a first-team all state, all CIF and all San Diego selection as a senior.

“We know our pitching staff is going to be great for us as they always are so we just want to put up some runs for them,” Davis said. “Obviously you want to come out with four wins but we want to be able to execute our offense the way we’ve been working on it.”

Putting up runs against the Hornets might prove to be difficult. Sacramento State returns most of its pitching staff which led the team to a WAC championship and a 40-win season.

First pitch on Friday is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. MDT.

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