Utah tied a school record by having four players taken in the MLB Draft last summer. But the core of returnees and 14 freshmen/redshirt freshmen on the roster will give the Utes a mix of veteran experience and talented newcomers in 2018.
The Utes return the most experience in the outfield. DaShawn Keirsey Jr. returns for his third season in center field. He finished third on the team last year with a .327 batting average and finished fourth in the Pac-12 in hits per game (1.42) and triples (5). In left field, Chandler Anderson was second on the team and eighth in the Pac-12 with a .336 batting average last year. Dominique Foscalina shared time in right field last season as a freshman. He hit .322 with a .373 on-base percentage.
The infield will have a new look in 2018. The lone returning starter, Oliver Dunn, is in his second year at second base. He scored 30 runs and drove in 19 last season. At first base, Wade Gulden has made 68 starts during his career at various positions and designated hitter. He hit .263 last year and had four home runs.
Zack Moeller, who started nearly every game at catcher last year, had five home runs and 11 doubles a year ago and was third on the team with a .429 slugging percentage. Freshman Chris Rowan Jr. was the 2017 5A Salt Lake Tribune MVP.
Three seniors lead a deep staff. Josh Lapiana has a 4.80 ERA with a 7-12 record and 110 strikeouts in his career. He is working out of the bullpen this year after serving as the Sunday starter. Tanner Thomas, slotted to move into the rotation this season, made 23 appearances in relief last year with a 4-0 record, two saves and a 2.91 ERA. Trenton Stoltz has made 53 relief appearances in three seasons. Last year, he led Utah with a 1.80 ERA in 20 innings with one save.
Junior Joshua Tedeschi went 2-0 last year over 12 relief appearances with a 2.79 ERA. Jacob Rebar pitched in 17 games in 2017 as a freshman with four starts, recording a 5.72 ERA with a 3-5 record and one save. His 44 strikeouts ranked fourth on the team.
Junior Kyle Robeniol earned All-So-Cal and all-conference honors at Orange Coast College in 2017 after transferring from Oregon. Freshman Brett Brocoff was a 28th-round selection in the MLB Draft out of high school to the Atlanta Braves. He was the 2017 4A Southern Nevada Player of the year. Freshman Riley Pierce, who is coming off Tommy John surgery, could work into a starting role as well.
Bill Kinneberg is in his 16th season at the helm of the Utah baseball program and 24th as a head coach at the collegiate level. He was named the 2016 Pac-12 Coach of the Year after leading the Utes to the conference championship. Kinneberg has taken the Utes to a pair of NCAA Regional appearances, placing second in Fullerton (Calif.) in 2009 and going 1-2 in Oxford (Miss.) in 2016. Ten Utah players have been taken in the first 10 rounds of the MLB Draft under Kinneberg, including the school's first-ever first-round selection in C.J. Cron (2011, 17th overall). Kinneberg has also established school records for wins in a season at three schools: UTEP (1985), Wyoming (1990) and Utah (1996).
Kinneberg led the USA Baseball Collegiate Team to a silver medal at the 2010 FISU World University Championships in Japan. He also went 25-12 with the 2007 U.S. National Team as its pitching coach, as the team finished with a 1.93 ERA.
Prior to joining the Utah staff, Kinneberg worked for the Chicago White Sox organization as a minor league pitching coach. From 1996-2001, Kinneberg was the associate head coach at Arizona. He served an assistant baseball coach at Arizona State from 1992-94. In his last two seasons, Kinneberg helped lead the Sun Devils to back-to-back appearances in the College World Series.
Kinneberg and his wife Janet have two sons, Joe (17) and David (15).
Mike Crawford is in his 10th year as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at Utah, and his second season as associate head coach.
Crawford has had 12 pitchers drafted during his time at Utah, including seven in the first 10 rounds. Tyler Wagner was a fourth-round pick by Milwaukee in 2012 and made his major league debut in 2015. The Utes had three pitchers drafted in 2017: Riley Ottesen (5th round), Jayson Rose (8th round) and Andre Jackson (12th round). Rose was a two-time All-Pac-12 player at Utah. In 2017, Ute opponents were held to a .264 batting average and 247 runs scored, both low marks since Utah joined the Pac-12. Utah led the league with 14 pickoffs. Utah set a team record with 421 strikeouts in 2009.
Crawford previously spent two seasons as associate head coach at Yavapai College. From 2002-05, Crawford was the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at Cochise College. Crawford played at the University of Arizona from 1999-2000. He was a starting pitcher at Yavapai College in 1997-98 and was named the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference (ACCAC) Pitcher of the Year in 1998. Crawford has a son, Kolby (12).
Former four-time all-conference Ute infielder Jay Brossman is in his seventh season on the baseball staff and his second as a full-time assistant with the Utes, serving as hitting coach and running the offense.
Utah's .287 batting average in 2017 was its highest since the Utes joined the Pac-12 in 2012. Utah ranked fourth in the league in batting average, third in on-base percentage and fourth in runs scored and RBI last season. Dallas Carroll ranked in the top five in in the Pac-12 in several major hitting categories and earned All-America honors from the ABCA. Carroll and DaShawn Keirsey Jr., both earned All-Pac-12 honors.
Brossman worked two seasons (2015-16) as the volunteer assistant coach for the Utes. He also served two years as the director of operations and one year as a student assistant coach. During his Ute playing career from 2004-07, he hit .359 and set school records for hits, doubles and total bases.
Brossman was selected in the 36th round of the 2007 MLB Draft and spent five years in the Los Angeles Angels minor league system. He was a Pioneer League All-Star in 2007. Jay and his wife Jenny have two sons, Colten and Caleb.
Parker Guinn is in his first season as a volunteer assistant coach at Utah. Guinn joins the Utes from Washington, where he was a student manager in 2017.
Guinn played three seasons at catcher for Washington (2012-14) before transferring to SIUE (Southern Illinois University Edwardsville) for his senior season in 2015.
Guinn was the volunteer assistant coach at SIUE in 2016. He served as the head coach for the U16 team of the Narrows Baseball Club from 2016-17.
Guinn is originally from Las Vegas, Nev., and attended high school in Gig Harbor, Wash. He earned a degree in mass communications with a minor in business administration from SIUE in 2015.
The Utes were the 2016 Pac-12 Conference champions, winning the title in one of the nation's top-rated baseball leagues that boasts a record 28 NCAA championships. The Utes head into the 2018 season coming off back-to-back Pac-12 upper division finishes after tying for fifth in 2017.
Utah has advanced to NCAA Regionals twice in the last nine years. The Utes made their first NCAA appearance since 1960 in 2009 after winning the MWC Tournament. The Utes went 2-2 to finish as the runner-up in the Fullerton Regional. Utah went 1-2 in the Oxford Regional in 2016, getting a 10-inning win over No. 7-ranked Ole Miss in the tournament opener.
In his first stint as Utah's head coach, Bill Kinneberg led Utah a then school-record 30 wins in 1996. The team he assembled before leaving to become the associate head coach at Arizona won 36 games and captured the WAC North Division title in 1997. In Utah's final year in the Mountain West Conference, Kinneberg led Utah to 29 wins and a runner-up finish in the league.