Baseball notes: Freshman Jackson making immediate impact for Utes

It’s not common for freshmen to come in and make an immediate impact, but for Utah freshman Andre Jackson, he’s done exactly that. And against good competition, as Jackson had his most successful series last weekend in the Pac-12/Big 12 Challenge.

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It didn’t come easy for Jackson, though. After not getting a chance at the plate against Kansas State, Jackson stumbled against Kansas, going 0-for-2. He returned to the plate in the next game against the Cowboys and had his best outing of the season.

Jackson led the Utes at the plate with a 2-for-3 performance, which included two RBI’s, Utah’s only two runs on the day. He would score a run himself in Utah’s game against Oklahoma after going 1-for-3 the next day.

“He did a nice job,” Ute head coach Bill Kinneberg said. “He had some key hits for us and he also played very good defense for us.”

Kinnerberg said it was good for Jackson to get his “feet wet” at this point in the season so that the early-season action prepares him for the long campaign ahead.

 

Pitching still a positive for Utah

Kinneberg changed the starting pitching lineup in preparation for last weekend’s challenge, and looking at the scores and the team’s overall record, questions arise.

Despite the recent slump, Kinneberg said that he is sticking to the pitching lineup he has in place for the upcoming weekend series against Nicholls State.

Junior Dalton Carroll was placed into the starting rotation and Kinnerberg said that he played well, even though he had a few hiccups early on in the game he started.

“We feel very good about that switch,” he said. “Dalton needs to get better at the start of the game.”

Kinneberg went on to praise senior Brock Duke for his relieving duties in Sunday’s game against Oklahoma. Duke was the second-day starter before Carroll was put into that role.

 

Losses fuel the Utes

It’s no secret that Utah has struggled in close games for the last two seasons. These types of contests are not unusual for the Utes, but getting victories in those close games can be hard to come by.

Sophomore Dallas Carroll said that the team simply has to preform better in the later innings in order to produce more wins.

“They do hurt a little bit more [losing close games],” Carroll said. “At the same time, knowing that we need to fix that one little thing to make it go our way, makes the team move forward…understanding that we need to get better in the late innings.”

Kinneberg said that while he is disappointed that the wins aren’t coming yet, he feels good about the roles that the players are in at the moment. He also said that he is happy to see what some of his players are capable of after such a tough weekend.

With just two weekends of competition played, the team feels confident it can eventually put together a full game.

“We just need a breakthrough and play a complete nine innings,” Kinneberg said.

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