Living on the road is unforgiving for anyone, including the Wolverine baseball team. The usual complaints include not sleeping in one’s own bed, eating differently and jet lag. No matter the excuses, tough competition has been the thorn in their side during this first road trip of the year.
The Wolverines had a 15-2 win sandwiched between an 8-2 and 9-7 loss against Seattle University, the same school that beat out UVU for entrance to the Western Athletic Conference. Following a 12-6 loss to Arizona, UVU traveled to Nevada to take on the Wolf Pack, one of the newest members of the WAC. After 6-4 and 9-1 losses, the Wolverines came together and managed a 6-1 win.
Senior Goose Kallunki leads the team so far with a .385 batting average and seven runs and seven RBI. Fellow senior Jake Rickenbach may be the comeback player of the year for the Wolverines after redshirting last season due to injury. His .448 slugging percentage is second on the team and his home run has him tied with Court Zollinger for tops in that department.
The road trip continues as UVU flies out to southern California to take on Cal State Fullerton beginning Friday March 2. The warm air and sunshine in the O.C. may be enough to break out of this late winter slump and contend against the Titans of Cal State.
If it’s not the more pleasant climate and the Wolverines need the home field advantage to break out this season, they will have to wait another three weeks. UVU does not have a game at Brent Brown Ballpark until March 22. The closest they will get to home is a three-game series against Southern Utah University.
After the series against SUU, and games at Arizona State and Saint Mary’s, the Wolverine’s return to Orem could not come any quicker. The preseason schedule may prove to be a baptism by fire for the Wolverines, and that may just be what they need to refine their game prior to conference play.
“It’s not ideal [playing on the road],” said head coach Eric Madsen. “It’s tough playing on the road for the first month. Obviously we would love to have a home game in there but to make postseason play we have to go out and play these tougher teams, and we have to go on the road to do that. I think it’s good to test ourselves and push us to get better.”
By Jonathan Boldt