Wolverines return a full lineup of starters
With spring on the way, baseball season is just around the corner. This past season, the UVU baseball team finished with a record of 14-13 in the Western Athletic Conference. This year, the Wolverines are looking to lean on veteran pitching to get through the WAC tournament and earn the conference automatic berth to the NCAA Regional. The Wolverines will bring back a full roster of starters for the new season and look for more consistent play to compete in the WAC and in the state of Utah.
“I think they’re a talented group,” said UVU head baseball coach Eric Madsen. “They’ve been working hard, they’ve made a lot of adjustments and done good things. The WAC’s a tough conference; it’s just becoming better and better every year at the top of it.”
UVU finished the 2015 season 0-5 against in-state opponents BYU and U of U, but managed a 14-13 conference record. Madsen said he would like to focus on improving in the conference, but winning the in-state games are important as well.
“We have to win the in-state games,” said Madsen. “Those are big games to us, and I don’t think we’ve approached it the right way the last couple years. I think those games are extremely important from a player’s standpoint. Even though they don’t do a lot for us, obviously, just beating BYU and Utah doesn’t get you into a regional, but those are very important for us. We need to win in-state.”
In addition to beating in-state foes, UVU is faced with the tough task of beating the four teams that have sat at the top of the WAC for the last two years: Seattle, CSU-Bakersfield, Grand Canyon, and Sacramento State—who knocked the Wolverines out of the WAC Tournament last May. UVU combined to finish 7-8, including the tournament, against the big four of the conference.
UVU will be led by senior infielders Greyson Bogden, Jordan Schlehuber, and Spencer Gothberg as well as senior outfielders Craig Brinkerhoff and Mark Krueger. Brinkerhoff was named to the WAC All-Tournament Team in May after going 5-for-12 (.417) with a home run, double and five RBIs.
Senior right-hander Danny Beddes will anchor the pitching staff. Beddes struck out 67 in 84.0 innings pitched and had a record of 5-6 with a 4.71 ERA. Sophomore left-hander Jackson Cofer finished the 2015 campaign strong with a complete game against Sacramento State in the WAC tournament and he will look to keep that momentum going. One big name, senior Chad Michaud, is returning after sitting out the entire 2015 season due to arm problems. In 2014, he appeared in 22 games and recorded six saves for the Wolverines.
Despite some uncertainty about where this team will stack up with the rest of WAC, Coach
Madsen is upbeat about the progress his team has made this offseason.
“I really like the group,” Madsen said. “It’s hard to say how it’s going to go. I think they’re a talented group. They’ve been working hard; they’ve made a lot of adjustments, and done good things.”
I’m a Pacific Northwest guy who loves his Pacific Northwest sports. An amateur movie buff who prefers the disc to digital. Chasing the sports writing dream while I geek out on Assassin’s Creed.