Feb. 6, 2006
USAF ACADEMY, Colo. -
The Air Force baseball team (2-0) hosts Northern Colorado (1-2) Wednesday, Feb. 8, at 3 p.m. at Runyon Field in Pueblo, Colo. The game was originally scheduled for 5 p.m., but has been changed to accomodate UNC's travel plans.
Air Force Head Coach Mike Hutcheon
Mike Hutcheon begins his third year as the head coach of the Falcons. Prior to his stint at the Academy, Hutcheon spent the last four years at Bethel College in Mishawaka, Ind. and compiled a record of 130-78 during his tenure there. In 2002, Hutcheon was named the National Christian Collegiate Athletic Association (NCCAA) National Coach of the year after leading Bethel to the 2002 NCCAA national title. Prior to his stay at Bethel, Hutcheon coached at Belhaven College in Jackson, Miss., for five seasons where he went 109-62. Through 11 seasons as a head coach, Hutcheon has compiled a 256-233 record and is 17-93 at Air Force.
50 Years of Falcon Baseball
The Falcons begin its 50th season of baseball in 2006.
The Falcons' fielded their first varsity team in 1957, going 6-9 in 15 games.
Air Force is 905-1,065-3 all time for a .460 winning percentage.
The Falcons' winningest season came in 1964, when the team went 22-5, good for an .815 winning percentage.
The 1979 team had the most wins ever, going 33-13 for a .719 winning percentage.
The Falcons have produced seven baseball All-Americans in addition to five freshman All-Americans.
The Falcons swept Colorado Christian in a season-opening doubleheader Saturday at Falcon Field. In game one, Mitch Brown tosses a one-hit shutout, as the Falcons won 5-0. Brown struck out a career-high 11 batters in the win. In game two Kyle DePierre and Paul Vignola teamed to hold CCU to one run in a 2-1 win. DePierre struck out six and allowed the lone run in five innings pitched. Vignola pitched a scoreless sixth and seventh innings to pick up the save. The Falcons won the game despite collecting just two hits in the game. Air Force is off to its best start since opening the season 7-0 in 2001.
Northern Colorado enters the week with a 1-2 record after taking part in the UTPA Classic in Arlington, Texas. Head coach Kevin Smallcomb (Sacramento State `85) is 86-80 in his fourth year at UNC and 256-233 in his 12th year overall. The Bears are batting .228 as a team, led by junior outfielder Grady Gorman, who is batting .429 with six RBI. The UNC pitching staff has a 4.49 earned run average, led by senior LHP and Colorado Springs native Chris Johns (Rampart HS/Louisiana-Lafayette) who struck out five and gave up one run in seven innings in his first start.
The Falcons and Bears are the lone two Div. I programs in Colorado...UNC leads the all-time series 78-47...The teams played six times in 2005, with UNC having won 5-of-6...Karl Bolt and Geno Salazar hit two home runs against UNC last year.
Air Force batted .205 against Colorado Christian...Chay Derbigny led the way, going 3-for-5 and reached base 71.4 percent of the time vs. CCU...Price Paramore had the lone extra-base hit in the series...Geno Salazar and Jon Polston had the lone hits in game two...the Falcons stole four bases in game one and were 5-of-6 in stolen base opportunities for the weekend...the Falcons drew 11 walks in the two games, led by Austin Ferreria, who drew three.
Air Force fielded .983 in the doubleheader, committing just one error in 43 chances...Geno Salazar committed the lone error on a throw to first...Jon Polston picked off a runner at first and second base.
Air Force had a 0.64 ERA against CCU, allowing just one run in 14 innings...CCU batted just .184 vs. the Falcons pitchers, who surrendered nine hits...Mitch Brown allowed one hit and struck out 11 in the 5-0 win in game one...Kyle DePierre fanned six in five innings for the win in game two...Paul Vignola earned his first-career save with two scoreless innings in game two...Air Force did not allow an extra base hit against CCU.
Air Force had three bunt hits in game one against CCU...leadoff hitter Chay Derbigny had two bunt hits and bunted his first three at bats of the game...the Falcons stole five bases in the series.
Falcons Tabbed 7th in MWC Preseason Poll
The Air Force Falcon baseball team was tabbed to finish seventh in the Mountain West Conference as voted by the seven head coaches and select media. TCU, in it's first season in the conference, was selected to finish first, followed by a second-place tie by UNLV and San Diego State for second. BYU followed in fourth, New Mexico fifth and Utah sixth.
Falcons To Play Paul Mainieri's Notre Dame
When Air Force travels to Millington, Tenn., to take part in the annual Service Academies Spring Classic at USA Stadium, they will see a familiar face in the opposition's dugout. The Falcons open the tournament on Feb. 24, against perennial Big East conference powerhouse Notre Dame, guided by former Falcon skipper Paul Mainieri. Mainieri guided the Falcons to a 152-158 record in six years from 1989-94 and is the only Falcon coach ever to win 20 or more games in six consecutive seasons. Mainieri is 488-196-2 in 11 seasons at Notre Dame, averaging 44 wins a season there.
Air Force next takes on York College, Saturday, Feb. 11, in a doubleheader at Falcon Field, beginning at 11 a.m. Air Force and York College were slated to play a doubleheader last year, but the games were cancelled due to snow. The Falcons then head West to Mesa, Ariz., to take on Illinois-Chicago and Creighton Feb. 17-18 at Ho Ho Kam Park, the Spring Training site for the Chicago Cubs.