Utah baseball enjoyed a magical run in 2016, winning its first-ever Pac-12 Conference championship and advancing to NCAA Regionals for the first time since 2009. The Utes went 19-11 and won eight of its 10 league series to capture the school’s first men's Pac-12 title in any sport since it joined the “Conference of Champions” in 2011-12.
Bill Kinneberg was named the 2016 Pac-12 Conference Coach of the Year. Four Utes made the All-Pac-12 team, including freshman centerfielder DaShawn Keirsey Jr., junior third baseman Dallas Carroll, sophomore pitcher Jason Rose, and senior shortstop Cody Scaggari. Keirsey also earned Freshman All-America honors.
Utah went 1-2 in the NCAA Oxford Regional, including a tournament-opening 10-inning win over No. 7-ranked Ole Miss. The Utes lost a hard-fought 4-3 game to eventual regional champ Boston College and then fell to Tulane, ending their NCAA run.
Celebrate Utah’s 2016 Pac-12 Conference championship run, the first in school history, and NCAA Regional appearance.
The Utes’ magical month of May culminated with a series win over Washington to claim the Pac-12 title outright.
Utah blended a mix of veterans and young talent to win the Pac-12 championship in 2016. A strong core will return in 2017, featuring three All-Pac-12 selections and two others who earned honorable mention.
Sophomore All-Pac-12 pitcher Jayson Rose set the tone for the Utes in 2016 as the No. 1 starter. He led the league in strikeouts and tied for fourth in wins during the regular season, finishing with an 8-5 record and a 2.89 ERA. Rose also recorded 106 strikeouts to break the school single-season record.
Junior reliever Dylan Drachler earned honorable mention All-Pac-12 accolades. Seven of his nine saves came in conference play and he finished with a 2.92 ERA. Sophomore transfer Josh Lapiana hit his stride in Pac-12 play, going 4-1 with a 4.00 ERA in 63 innings.
Senior Dalton Carroll, who pitched in the middle of the rotation, was selected in the 21st round of the 2016 MLB Draft by the Atlanta Braves. The Utes also lose senior catcher A.J. Young, who made 143 career starts behind the plate and as a DH.
Junior third baseman Dallas Carroll, a 2016 All-Pac-12 selection, had the second-best batting average on the team (.333) in conference play. Overall, he led the team with seven home runs and ranked in the top three in runs scored (34) and driven in (32).
In his first year as the starting first baseman, junior Hunter Simmons helped Utah turn a league-best 42 double plays during the regular season. Simmons hit .285 and struck out just once in every 10.8 at-bats, ranking among the top five in the Pac-12 in that category.
The Utes will need to replace a pair of veterans in the middle infield. Shortstop Cody Scaggari hit .358 in conference games to rank third among Pac-12 players in 2016. Second baseman Kody Davis tied the Utah record with 52 career stolen bases.
Utah also loses designated hitter Kellen Marruffo, who was second on the team with a .314 batting average in 2016.
Center fielder DaShawn Keirsey Jr. made quite a splash during his rookie season, earning All-Pac-12 and Freshman All-America honors. Keirsey was also named to the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team, marking Utah’s first selection since joining the conference. He led the Pac-12 in league play with 28 runs scored and ranked in the top seven overall in the regular season with 11 stolen bases.
Junior right fielder Josh Rose earned Pac-12 honorable mention after hitting .290 and leading the Utes with 35 RBI. Sophomore Andre Jackson took over as the starting left fielder the latter part of the season and hit .299.
Bill Kinneberg is in his 15th season at the helm of the Utah baseball program and 23rd as a head coach at the collegiate level. He has led the Utes to the 2016 Pac-12 Conference championship and a pair of NCAA Regional appearances. The Utes placed second in the Fullerton Regional in 2009 and also took a game in the Oxford Regional in 2016. Six Utah players under Kinneberg have been taken in the first 10 rounds of the MLB Draft, 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, with the team finishing 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 (16) and David (14).
Mike Crawford is in his ninth year as the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at Utah. During his time with the Utes, Crawford has had eight pitchers drafted, most notably Tyler Wagner, who was a fourth-round pick to the Milwaukee Brewers in 2012. Utah had three pitchers drafted in 2014.
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 the Arizona Community College Athletic Conference (ACCAC) Pitcher of the Year in 1998. Crawford has a son, Kolby (11).
Former four-time all-conference Ute infielder Jay Brossman is in his first year as Utah’s hitting coach and his sixth year on the staff. He worked two years (2015-16) as the volunteer assistant coach, overseeing the infield defense and assisting with hitting. Brossman also served two years as the director of operations and spent a year as a student assistant coach.
Brossman hit .359 over his four-year Utah career from 2004-07. He set school records for hits (307), doubles (69), and total bases (482).
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.
Tony Asaro is in his first year at Utah. He previously served two stints as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at El Camino Community College, most recently in 2016 and from 2010-12. His responsibilities included forming a hitting performance program, implementing defensive strategies, and overseeing the catchers, inside game and base running.
Asaro also spent three years at Tennessee as a volunteer assistant coach (2013-14) and director of operations/camp coordinator (2015). The Vols made back-to-back SEC Tournament appearances in 2014 and 2015. He began his collegiate baseball career at Pepperdine before transferring to UC Irvine, graduating in 2009 with a bachelor's in sociology.
Conner Lambert is in his third season with the Utes. He spent two years at Tacoma Community College as the pitching coach and has spent the past four summers working as a pitching coach for the Corvallis Knights of the West Coast League. Lambert pitched four years at Washington State (2007-10). He worked as a graduate assistant coach for the Cougars in 2011, serving as the assistant pitching coach and bullpen coach.
The Utes are the defending champions in the Pac-12, one of the nation’s top-rated conferences for baseball and one that boasts a record 28 NCAA championships. Arizona finished the 2016 NCAA College World Series runner-up after getting swept by the Utes during the regular season.
Utah has advanced to NCAA Regionals twice in the last eight 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.