UVU sluggers hope to make impact

Spring is just around the corner and that means many great things are in store for Utah Valley University — sunshine, warm weather and the start of the UVU baseball season.

After five years as an assistant, Eric Madsen is set to start his first season as the Wolverines head coach. Madsen takes over for Steve Gardner, who retired after the end of the 2008 season.

“I’m definitely excited and certainly hopeful for things to go well,” Madsen said. “I think we’ve got a great coaching staff here and that will help make the transition easier and make this first year exciting.”

Rounding out this year’s new coaching staff is Dave Carter, Kevin Lofthus, Mike Martin and Adam Openshaw.

Last year the Wolverines finished the season 17-36-1 and are looking to turn things around this season.

UVU has six returning starters, though none of them are from the pitching staff. With the inexperience on the hill for the first part of the season they may have to rely on their offense.

Leading the way at the plate is junior third baseman Jace Brinkerhoff, who led the team in hitting (.328), home runs (8), and runs batted in (45). Seniors Josh Hinckley, Ryan Jones and Cole Anderson are also in the lineup and are looking to leave their mark in their last season of play.

“Our hitting is going to be our strength.” Madsen said. “That’s something we’re going to rely on as we start out. You never know with hitting but I really expect a lot out of this club offensively. I see us as a team that’s going to slug it out a little bit.”

The schedule also seems to be more in the favor of the Wolverines this season. Last season UVU only had 11 games at Brent Brown Ballpark, but this year they are at home for 18 games and 23 games in the state of Utah.

The Wolverines start their season at home March 5 when they go up against Northern Colorado for a three game series.

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