At 8-15 (1-8 in conference), the University of Utah baseball team has encountered a few bumps in the road as they approach the midway point of the season. Regardless, there’s still reason to believe this team is better than their record suggests.
Unfortunately for Utah (and the majority of the PAC-12), the top teams in the conference happen to be some of the best in the nation. In fact, four teams (UCLA, Stanford, Arizona State and Oregon State) are currently ranked inside the top 10 nationally, with Oregon and Washington also fielding teams with winning records. Despite this, the Utes have played their conference foes relatively close, and a recent win over the #24thranked BYU Cougars snapped a nine-game losing streak just before the Utes hit the road to take on the sixth ranked Oregon State Beavers.
Kicking off the season with ten straight road games, the Utes managed an even .500 record, including wins over Nevada, San Diego, UNLV, Western Carolina and Wright State and pushed the then 9th ranked East Carolina Pirates to extra innings, ultimately falling 6-7 through ten innings. As luck would have it, Utah’s first home series of the season was cut short due to weather, completing only one of the three scheduled games against Niagara, claiming a 10-6 before falling to Gonzaga 3-5 the next day, pushing the Utes back to .500.
The Utes opened conference play on March 16th with an unbelievable 21-10 victory over Arizona with second baseman Oliver Dunn notching six RBI, going 3-6 at the plate. Unfortunately, that monster offensive performance would be the last win for Utah for nearly three weeks, losing the next two games to Arizona, followed by a 2-11 loss to Grand Canyon and getting swept by Stanford (including a heartbreaking 6-7 loss that ended after 12 innings) and Oregon in back-to-back series, leading the Utes to their upset victory over their in-state rival, BYU.
Utah will have a chance to gain some ground in the conference standings this weekend when they take on the Beavers starting Friday at 6:35 PM MT, with afternoon games commencing Saturday and Sunday before another meeting with BYU on April 9th at 6:00.