Baseball Pivots to Play CS Fullerton on Opening Weekend
Game 1-3: Utah (0-0) at CS Fullerton (0-0)
Saturday, February 20-Monday, February 22
Game Times: Saturday: 8 p.m. MT, Sunday: 7 p.m. MT, Monday: 1 p.m. MT
Fullerton, Calif. | Goodwin Field
After Utah baseball's opening series against UTSA was cancelled due to inclement weather in the San Antonio area, the team acted fast and found a new opponent for the opening weekend.
The Utes will now be traveling to Fullerton, Calif. to take on Cal State Fullerton over the weekend. It will be a three-game series beginning on Saturday, February 20. The three games will begin at 8 p.m., 7 p.m. and 1 p.m. mountain time.
KINNEBERG ENTERS 18th SEASON
Head coach Bill Kinneberg enters his 18th season as the head coach at Utah.
Back in 2016, he led the Utes to the Pac-12 Championship and is currently sitting on 610 career victories.
DEPTH ACROSS THE BOARD
The Utes return almost everyone back from last year's team while adding in some talented newcomers giving them depth across the board.
On the pitching staff, they're led by Justin Kelly and David Watson, while they plenty of other options at starter with Kyle Robeniol returning for an extra year and Dustyn Schramm having plenty of experience.
In the infield, Utah has several players that can play multiple positions in Chase Fernlund, Shea Kramer and Matt Richardson.
Outfield wise, the Utes have two starters returning in Isaac Deveaux and Vinny Zavolta. They also have Tyler Thompson and Shea Kramer who have plenty of experience in the outfield as both played multiple positions last season. Utah also welcomed transfer Jaylon McLaughlin from Nevada, who will get a look in center field as well as hitting in the leadoff spot.
TRANSFERS WITH EXPERIENCE
Utah picked up two graduate transfers with plenty of experience to boost their outfield and bullpen.
Jaylon McLaughlin transferred in from Nevada and will bat leadoff while holding down the center field position. He had a breakout season for the Wolf Pack in 2019 leading the team with a career-high .339 batting average and was named first-team All-Mountain West after batting .360 in conference. His 25 stolen bases on the year ranked as the sixth-most in a single season by a Nevada player.
Brayson Hurdsman transferred in from Houston and seen action in 62 games with a 3.83 ERA.
KELLY LEADS THE STARTERS
Redshirt sophomore Justin Kelly returned in 2020 after sitting out the 2019 season with an elbow injury. Kelly became Utah's Friday night starter a season ago and will continue in that role this year.
His ERA ended up being the second best on the team at 2.66 and he only allowed seven earned runs in his four starts. Kelly pitched at least 6.0 innings in three of his four starts and pitched 5.1 innings in the other game.
In his freshman season, he appeared in 12 games out of the bullpen and held a 6.66 ERA. In 24.1 innings pitched, he had 23 strikeouts.
ZAVOLTA BRINGS A SPARK
Vinny Zavolta became a mainstay on the bases for Utah last season.
He went 5-10 at the plate against Minnesota in the final weekend of the season and scored six runs and had two doubles.
On the season, the junior led the team hitting .400 with a 1.291 OPS. He started in seven games.
KRAMER BRINGS VERSATILITY
Shea Kramer started at first base, left field and right field last season and has been consistent at the plate.
He hit .280 with a slugging percentage of .400.
The first weekend, he really came out hot hitting .474 through the first four games and had seven RBI.
The junior totaled nine hits in the opening weekend last season including a 4-5 outing in the win over UC Davis. Kramer cleared the bases with his first career grand slam. He had two more RBI in the ninth inning giving him a career high six for the game.
Utah will head to Los Angeles, Calif. to take on Loyola Marymount beginning on Friday, February 26.