Head coach Bill Kinneberg begins his fourth season in the Ute dugout.
Jan. 29, 2007
This Week In Utah Baseball
Utah Opens 2007 Campaign at Santa Clara
The University of Utah baseball team opens its 2007 with 16 consecutive games on the road. That travel-heavy slate of games begins this weekend, as the Utes get the season under way at Santa Clara University.
Utah was 28-28 last season, finishing .500 or better for just the second time in 10 years. The Utes last faced Santa Clara to open the 2005 season, dropping a three-game series to the Broncos. Santa Clara has already begun its 2007 campaign. The Broncos traveled to Honolulu for a three-game set with Hawaii last weekend. Santa Clara came back to the mainland with a 1-2 record, salvaging a Sunday game against the Rainbow Warriors.
Utah's last victory in a season-opener came back in 2002. The Utes took a 6-4 win over Cal Poly in the season's first game five years ago.
Leading Off ...
Utah improved by nine victories in 2006, going 28-28 after a 19-36 overall record in 2005.
Shortstop Ryan Khoury was named First-Team All-American by the American Baseball Coaches Association last season. It had been more than 40 years since a Ute had earned first-team honors.
Utah ranked 25th in the nation in batting average (.316) and 23rd in home runs (1.11 per game).
The Utes were the best fielding team in the Mountain West Conference last season, with a .970 mark.
Slugging It Out
In addition to its strong performances in home runs and batting average last season, the Utes were very adept at going for extra bases. Nearly one-third of Utah's hits last season went for extra bases (200-of-620, 32.3%). That led to a slugging percentage of .490 for the Utes, which ranked second in the Mountain West Conference and 15th in the nation.
Big Shoes To Fill
Utah shortstop Ryan Khoury was named a First-Team All-American by the American Baseball Coaches Association last season. Now a farmhand in the Boston Red Sox organization, Khoury batted .438 last season to finish with the fifth-best batting average in the country. He was the only MWC player with an average better than .400. Khoury was also fifth in the nation in runs scored per game (1.3) and 13th in slugging percentage (.728).