April 20, 2004
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Game 1: Thurs. Apr. 22 - BYU vs. Air Force - 2 p.m. (MST)
Game 2: Fri. Apr. 23 - BYU vs. Air Force - 2 p.m.
Game 3: Sat. Apr. 24 - BYU vs. Air Force - Noon
Games Site: Falcon Field
Records: BYU (16-25, 6-9 MWC); AFA (5-30, 0-11 MWC)
Radio/Livestats: KBZC 1300 AM will cover Saturday's game (Also available online through collegesports pass and free through telephone: Instructions in release). Livestats will be available for all three games. Just click on selected game on "Falcons Nest" section on right-hand side of Air Force baseball page.
Air Force Pitching Rotation (Probable)
Game 1:Paul Vignola, So. RHP (1-7, 11.23)
Game 2:Mitch Brown, Fr. RHP (0-3, 7.79)
Game 3:Clayton Couch, So. RHP (2-3, 6.64)
Air Force Baseball Hosts BYU In MWC Series
The Air Force baseball team (5-30, 0-11 MWC) plays host to BYU (16-25, 6-9 MWC) in a three game game set at Falcon Field. The Falcons, who were swept by New Mexico last weekend, are looking for their first conference wins of the season against the Cougars, who knocked San Diego State out of first place in the MWC last weekend.
Hutcheon At The Helm
Mike Hutcheon begins his first year as the head coach of the Falcons. 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 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. In his tenth season as a head coach, Hutcheon has compiled a 244-170 record.
Scouting Air Force
The Air Force baseball team was swept last weekend in a three game Mountain West Conference series against New Mexico. AFA is currently batting .294 as a team, led by junior shortstop Nathan DeRohan, who is batting .315 with a team-leading four home runs, 12 doubles and 28 runs scored. The team pitching staff has an earned run average of 11.44, led by sophomore right-hander Clayton Couch, who leads the team with a 2-3 record in 39.1 innings pitched to go with 25 strikeouts.
Brigham Young (15-25-1, 6-9 MWC) is led by former Major Leaguer Vance Law, in his 5th year at the helm for the Cougars. BYU took two of three from San Diego State last weekend, to knock the Aztecs out of first place in the MWC. The Cougars are batting .254 as a team, led by sophomore shortstop Brandon Taylor, who is batting .295 with a team leading eight home runs and 31 RBI. BYU has a 5.67 team earned run average, led by junior left-hander Patrick Wells, who is 5-3 (5.47 ERA) with 41 strikeouts in 71.2 innings pitched.
AFA-BYU Series History
Air Force and BYU have played each other 134 times with the Cougars having won 113 of those... Last year, AFA went 1-5 against BYU in six meetings... The two teams first played each other 42 years ago on June 2, 1962, as the Falcons beat the Cougars, 4-2, in Provo, Utah. ... Air Force is 7-17 against BYU since Mountain West Conference play began in 2000 and 3-8 at Falcon Field.
There are no Falcons from the state of Utah and no Cougars from Colorado... BYU pitching coach Bobby Applegate was also the pitching coach at Air Force from 1998-2001.
The Series At-A-Glance
Overall: BYU leads, 113-21
Current Streak: Air Force, 1 game
First Meeting: June 2, 1962 (Air Force, 4-2)
Last Meeting: May 17, 2003 (Air Force,17-11)
Most Air Force runs: 17 on May 17, 2003 (17-11)
Most BYU runs: 32 on April 24, 1987 (31-13)
Biggest win by Air Force: 9 on May 9, 1992 (14-5)
Biggest win by BYU: 23 on April 1, 1996 (27-4)
Air Force-Brigham Young: The Last Meeting
Eight seniors starting for Air Force went out in style, holding off BYU for a 17-11 victory on Saturday, May 17, in a Mountain West Conference baseball game at Falcon Field. The 17 runs scored by the Falcons were the most ever for AFA against the Cougars in the 41-year series history between the two programs. Air Force set team highs in a conference games for runs (17), hits (22) and RBI (17). Dan Petro went 5-for-5 with five RBI in his final game at Falcon Field. Derck Kasel was 3-for-6 with three runs scored and Josh Phifer was 2-for-5 with a home run and four RBI. Mike Rose, the only junior in the batting order for the Falcons, went 4-for-5 on the day, and was one of seven Air Force hitters who had multiple hits. Clayton Couch picked up his first career collegiate victory in the start.
Last Time Out
In another tough weekend, the Falcons were swept at home by New Mexico, as the Lobos set several Mountain West Conference records. In game one, AFA failed to protect a 5-2 lead, falling to UNM 10-5 on Friday. On Saturday New Mexico set conference records with 29 hits and 31 runs in a 31-11 win. The Falcons also set a conference record in the game, issuing 16 walks. On Sunday, the Lobos hit a conference record eight home runs to win 18-6. With winds reaching 45 miles per hour and blowing out to right-center field, the two teams combined for 10 home runs in the third and final series game.
Nothing But Home Conference Games In April
After playing 16 of 20 games in the month of March on the road, Air Force will play 12 of its 13 games at home (not counting exhibition game at Colorado Springs Sky Sox) in April. The Falcons will play host to all five Mountain West Conference opponents beginning with Utah (April 2), San Diego State (8-10), New Mexico (16-18), BYU (22-24) and UNLV (April 30).
The Falcons batted .357 (40-for-112) in the New Mexico series... Nathan DeRohan had six hits and six RBI vs. UNM... Matt Musser also had six hits and six runs scored in the UNM series... DeRohan, Karl Bolt and Travis Fugler homered against the Lobos... With base hits in all three game, Jon Polston extended his hitting streak to seven games.
Paul Vignola pitched a season-high 6.1 innings vs. UNM... For the first time in conference play, the Falcons had two starting pitchers work five or more innings... Air Force issued a season-low one walk against UNM on Friday.
The Falcons had their best weekend defensively on the season, fielding .969, committing just four errors... New Mexico was 0-for-5 in stolen baseb attempts with Jon Polston throwing out four runners and Billy Adams accounting for one... Jason Brown recorded 14 putouts on Sunday and Nathan DeRohan nine assists on Saturday, both Falcon season-high's... Air Force turned a season-best three double plays on Saturday.
Freshmen Seeing Significant Time In The Infield
The youth movement is in full swing for the Air Force infield as three freshman have seen significant playing time among the five infield positions. Karl Bolt, who leads the team in hitting with a .327 average has started 29 games at either first or third base. Geno Salazar has started in 22 games at either shortstop or second base and Jon Polston leads the team with 21 starts as catcher.
Falcons Are Young In The Pitching Department As Well
Of the 15 players who have pitched for the Falcons in 2004, 12 of them are freshmen or sophomores. Five sophomores lead the team with 21 starts and 126.1 innings pitched logged amongst them, while seven freshmen have accounted for a team-leading 60 appearances with Mitch Brown leading the team with two saves and Blake Nixon leading the team with 27 strikeouts in 27.1 innings.
Sophomores Swingin' It
Three sophomores are also seeing significant starting time and putting up productive offensive numbers. Josh Wolfram has started 30 games in center field and has batted lead-off for the Falcons in 17 contests and leads the team with 12 stolen bases. Since being converted from pitcher to first baseman/outfielder, Jason Brown has become a potent source of power as he is second on the team with three home runs to go with 16 RBI. Matt Musser has started in all six games he has played in since making the move up from the junior varsity squad and already has five stolen bases and an .556 on-base percentage.
Don't Forget The Juniors
Three of the top four hitters on the team are juniors, led by shortstop/third baseman Nathan DeRohan. DeRohan is the lone Falcon to start in all 35 games and leads the team in runs (28), hits (41), doubles (12), homers (4) and RBI (26). Fourth on the team in hitting is second baseman Colton Walter, who is batting .288 with a team-leading nine multi-hit games. Team captain Travis Fugler, who has started 25 games in the outfield or first base is batting .292 and is tied for third on the team with 16 RBI. Fellow junior Dale Kasel has also swung his way into the Falcon starting lineup batting .308 in 25 starts.
Falcons Fall 7-3 To Colorado Springs Sky Sox In Exhibition Game
A six-run second inning propelled the Colorado Sky Sox to a 7-3 win over Air Force, in a five-inning exhibition baseball game at Sky Sox Stadium on Tuesday, April 6. Jeff Tetrault was tagged with the loss pitching the second inning. The Falcons got to work immediately in the first, scoring a run of Sky Sox starter Brian Tollberg to take a 1-0 lead. Colton Walter singled and then stole second base and came around to score on a throwing error by second baseman Erick Almonte. Air Force starter Paul Vignola threw a 1-2-3 inning in the first. The Sky Sox then exploded for six runs in the second as Clint Barmes hit a three-run homer and Matt Holliday hit a two-run homer. The Sky Sox tacked on one more run in the third as Garret Atkins homered off Kyle DePierre to make it a 7-1 game. The Falcons added runs in the fourth and fifth innings. Travis Fugler scored of Reid Lamson's sacrifice fly in the fourth and Matt Musser scored on a throwing error after stealing third base. Air Force had three hits on the day, led by Fugler, who went 2-for-3.
Air Force plays host to UNLV in its final home games of the season from Fri.-Sun. April 30-May 2 at Falcon Field. The Falcons are 14-44 in 58 all-time games vs. the Rebels. The Falcons were swept by UNLV in a three game set in Las Vegas, Nevada, earlier in the season.
Falcons Broadcast Schedule Finalized
Nine Air Force baseball games will be broadcast on the internet and will be available on the telephone. All nine of those games will be broadcast on KBZC AM 1300 "The Buzz" in Colorado Springs. All of the below games will be available on the internet at www.AirForceSports.com. Just go to the baseball page and click on "Listen to the Falcons" in the Falcons' Next on the right side of the page. Those same games can be heard on the telephone on TeamLine by dialing 1-800-846-4700. The team access code is 0671. This service is free of charge to listeners thanks to the Air Force Academy athletic department. The pregame show begins 20 minutes prior to first pitch. Jay Ritchie, in his sixth season of doing Air Force baseball and his 15th season of broadcasting Air Force athletics, will handle the play-by-play duties. Dave Toller will handle the color commentary.
Remaining 2004 Air Force Baseball Broadcast Schedule
Date Opponent Time
4/17 New Mexico 1 p.m.
4/18 New Mexico Noon
4/24 BYU Noon
5/14 at New Mexico 2 p.m.
5/15 at New Mexico 1 p.m.
5/16 at New Mexico Noon
5/26-29 Mountain West Conference Tournament TBA
Miscellaneous Falcon Facts
* Sophomore Jason Brown (varsity wide receiver) and sophomore Jimmy Harold (junior varsity quarterback) also play for the Air Force football team.
* Three current Falcons--Travis Fugler, Dale Kasel and Josh Wolfram--have brothers who also played for the AFA baseball team. Fugler's twin brother, Tommy, played for the team in 2002. Kasel's older brother, Derck, played for the team from 2000-03. Wolfram's older brother, Kris, played for the Falcons from 1999-2001.
* Before going on to become the all-time winningest NCAA Division I men's basketball coach at North Carolina, hoops coaching legend Lt. Dean Smith was an assistant baseball coach for the Falcons in 1958.