Falcons Host BYU At Security Service Field
Air Force (10-23, 1-9) vs. BYU (17-22, 4-6)
Dates: Thurs.-Sat., April 27-29 - Thursday and Friday beginning at 2 p.m., Saturday at noon
Sites: Security Service Field - Colorado Springs, Colo.
Radio/Livestats: www.byucougars.com for Saturday game/ www.airforcesports.com
The Coaches: Mike Hutcheon (AFA) 25-116/3rd year at Air Force; 264-256/12th year overall
Vance Law (BYU) 212-177-2/7th year at BYU and overall
Series History BYU leads, 124-23
Pitching Probables W-L ERA G-GS IP K BB
Thurs AFA #21 Jr. RHP Mitch Brown 3-7 4.44 11-10 50.2 37 17
Fri AFA #26 Fr. RHP Jake Petro 2-2 8.13 10-7 27.2 14 16
Sat AFA TBA
Falcons Host BYU At Security Service Field
The Air Force baseball team (10-23, 1-9 MWC) plays host to BYU (17-22, 4-6) in a three game conference series April 27-29. All three games will be played at Security Service Field, the home of the Colorado Springs SkySox, the Triple-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies. Admission is free for all three games. Live stats will be available online at www.airforcesports.com. Saturday's game will be broadcast live online for free at www.byucougars.com.
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 264-256 record and is 25-116 at Air Force.
50 Years of Falcon Baseball
The Falcons are in their 50th season of baseball in 2006.
• The Falcons' fielded their first varsity team in 1957, going 6-9 in 15 games.
• Air Force is 913-1,088-3 all time for a .456 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 are batting .250 as a team and have a pitching staff earned run average of 8.68. Junior first baseman Karl Bolt leads the team with a .284 batting average to go with five home runs and 20 RBI. Junior right-hander Mitch Brown (3-7, 4.44) anchors the pitching staff, with 37 srtikeouts in 50.2 innings pitched.
Last Time Out
Air Force was swept in a three-game MWC series at New Mexico. The Falcons dropped the opening doubleheader 23-11 and 24-3 and lost the final game 26-11.
BYU enters the week with a 17-22 overall record and 4-6 MWC mark after losing two of three at home against TCU. The Cougars play two games at Northern Colorado prior to facing the Falcons. Head coach Vance Law (BYU '78) is 212-177-2 in his 7th year at BYU. The Cougars are batting .260 as a team, led by senior first baseman Ben Saylor, who is batting .329 with 11 homers and 37 RBI. The BYU pitching staff has a 5.42 earned run average, led by junior RHP Jesse Craig (3-6, 4.43), who has 61 strikeouts in 69.0 innings pitched this year.
• Air Force is 23-124 all-time against BYU...last year, BYU took 5-of-6 against the Falcons.
• BYU pitching coach Bobby Applegate was the pitching coach at Air Force from 1998-2001.
• Paul Pratt (Tooele HS, Tooele) and Shawn Naugle (Orem HS, Orem) are both Utah natives.
• Pratt and senior Price Paramore served two year Mormon missions and returned to the Falcon baseball team in 2005.
Security Service Field
Security Service Field was opened in 1988 and has a seating capacity of 8,500 for baseball games. The Falcons have played five times at Security Service Field, all exhibition games against the Sky Sox.
• Five current Rockies--Clint Barmes, Garrett Atkins, Matt Holliday, Brad Hawpe and Choo Freeman--were in the starting lineup when the Falcons last played the SkySox in 2004.
Air Force at Security Service Field
1989 vs. SkySox - Lost, 8-5
2001 vs. SkySox - Lost, 8-2
2002 vs. SkySox - Lost, 4-2
2003 vs. SkySox - Lost, 11-0
2004 vs. SkySox - Lost, 7-3
For more information on Security Service Field, log on to: www.skysox.com.
After 33 games in 2006, the Falcon pitching staff has shown significant improvent when you compare how the staff did after 30 games in 2005. The Falcons have given up three less runs per game in 2006 and the starters are surrendering four less runs per outing.
Here is a quick comparison of several pitching stats comparing the last two seasons after 30 games.
ERA 11.61 8.68
Starters ERA 11.52 7.38
Opp. Avg. .389 .315
Hits Allowed P/GM 14.3 11.1
Walks P/GM 4.4 4.7
Strikeouts P/GM 5.2 5.8
Through 33 games, Air Force has attempted 57 bunts, recording 19 hits and 16 sacrifices. Air Force is batting .463 when bunting. Chay Derbigny leads the team with nine bunt hits and Dustin Smith is second with four bunt hits. Against TCU on April 9, Air Force recorded five sacrifice bunts.
Hitting Improved In MWC Play
Air Force is hitting .268 in conference play, 28 points higher than the .240 average against non-conference foes. Against New Mexico, the Falcons raised their team batting average 14 points in three games. In 10 conference games, the Falcons have hit 10 homers, compared to 10 hit in 23 non-conference games. Geno Salazar is hitting .391 in conference play compared to .235 in non-conference games. Karl Bolt is .353 in MWC play (.246 in non-conference) and Matt Ghigna is hitting .324 in MWC action (compared to .258 in non-conference).
Air Force has hit four grand slams in 2006. Price Paramore hit one against Navy at the Service Academies Spring Classic. Josh Meents hit grand slams in back-to-back games against Indiana State and Utah Valley State. Billy Adams was the most recent to do so, hitting a grand salami against New Mexico on April 14.
Pick Off Artists
Air Force has picked off 11 baserunners this season, which is second in the Mountain West Conference. Catcher Jon Polston has picked off five of those runners, also tops in the conference. The Falcons picked off seven during the entire 2005 season.
Air Force takes on Northern Colorado next Tuesday, May 2 in Greeley and play host to San Diego State, May 5-7, at Falcon Field.
Season Standing Notes
A Quick Recap of 2005
• Air Force went 9-44 overall in 2005 and 4-26 in Mountain West Conference play, finishing in sixth place.
• The Falcons batted .279 as a team and had a team earned-run average of 12.18.
• AFA's top hitter and team MVP was senior Reid Lamson, who batted .321 with 52 runs and an MWC-leading 18 stolen bases.
• The Falcons' top pitcher was Paul Pratt, who was 3-9 with 9.62 ERA with 41 K's in 62.2 innings pitched.
• The Falcons graduated four seniors in 2005 - Lamson, Nathan DeRohan, Dale Kasel and Brent Tittle.
• The Falcons return 18 letterwinners, including six starters on the field.
• Air Force returns nine pitchers, six with significant starting experience.
• The Falcons top returning hitters are senior IF/OF Dustin Smith (.320 avg, 3 HR, 21 RBI) and junior 1B Karl Bolt (.315, 12, 39).
• The Falcons return a bevy of returning pitchers in seniors Paul Pratt, Kyle DePierre, Clayton Couch and Paul Vignola.
• Junior Geno Salazar led all MWC shortstops with a .970 fielding percentage in 2005.
• Junior Jon Polston tied for third in the conference with 18 base-runners thrown out.
The Falcons welcome 10 new players to the team in 2006. Eight freshmen and two sophomores look to improve the Falcons in coach Mike Hutcheon's third year. Five of the freshman newcomers - Casey Allen, Jake Daly, Shawn Naugle, Juan Perez and Jake Petro - are pitchers. The two sophomores, Chay Derbigny and Tony Lee, and freshmen Bob Carpenter, Jake Griggs and Brad Madison will see time in the field. Allen and Madison were all-state selection out of high school in Texas and Carpenter and Daly played for the super-power NorCal summer baseball program in Northern California.
2006 Team Captains
Three Falcons will share team captain duties for the 2006 season. Seniors Price Paramore and Paul Pratt, along with junior Karl Bolt will assume leadership duties for Air Force, replacing Brent Tittle, who was the team captain in 2005.
Brown Earns MWC Pitcher Of The Week
Air Force junior right hander Mitch Brown was named Mountain West Conference Pitcher and Player of the Week by the Conference office on Feb. 6. Brown, from Semmes, Ala., tossed a one-hit shutout and struck out a career-high 11 batters in a 5-0 Air Force win vs. Colorado Christian. He earned his first victory of the season by not allowing a runner past second base and giving up the only hit of the game in the second inning. Brown's shutout was the first for an Air Force pitcher since the April 26, 2003 (vs. San Diego State), while his 11 strikeouts were the most by a Falcon hurler since the Feb. 3, 2002 (vs. Hastings College).
...And So Does Petro
Air Force freshman right-hander Jake Petro was named Mountain West Conference Pitcher of the Week on March 27. This is his first career weekly honor .
Petro, from San Antonio, Texas, recorded his second win of the year as he struck out a career-high five batters in a 3-0 victory over Southern Utah. He scattered three hits and did not allow a base runner past second base in his 6.0 innings of work (seven inning game). Petro retired the leadoff hitter in each inning pitched and did not allow a single walk.
Petro is the second Falcon to earn MWC Pitcher of the Week honors, joining Mitch Brown who garnered the selection on Feb. 6.
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.
Lone Star and Golden State Falcons
To become competitive in college baseball, you must be able to recruit well out of the of the hot-beds of baseball: Texas and California. Luckily for the Air Force baseball, coach Mike Hutcheon has, as 13 of the Falcons' 29 varsity players hail from Texas and California. Seven Falcons, Casey Allen, Matt Ghigna, Brad Madison, Price Paramore, Juan Perez, Jake Petro and Andrew Vasquez, hail from the Lone Star state. Six Falcons, Karl Bolt, Bob Carpenter, Jake Daly, Kyle DePierre, Austin Ferreria and Kyle Yamamoto, hail from the Golden state.
Three current Falcons played summer ball during their prep careers for the NorCal baseball program. Junior Karl Bolt and freshmen Bob Carpenter and Jake Daly were former NorCal players. The NorCal summer team is the top summer team in Northern California for players 18 and under. Notable NorCal alumni include current Major Leaguers Patt Burrell, J.P. Howell, Xavier Nady, Jimmy Rollins, Dontrelle Willis and more.
• Falcon freshman right-hander Jake Petro is the second Petro to play for the Falcons. Older brother, Dan Petro, played for the Falcons from 2000-03 and was an all-conference catcher in '03.
• Sophomore Tony Lee is the Kansas prep record-holder for stolen bases with 89 career swipes at Andover Central HS.
• Two pairs of Falcon teammate share the same birthdays. Seniors Matt Musser and Dustin Smith were both born on March 7, 1984. Freshman Jake Daly and senior Paul Pratt were both born on April 4.
• Senior team co-captains Price Paramore and Paul Pratt both served religious missions and did not play for the Falcons during the 2003 and 2004 seasons. Paramore served a two-year mission to Siberia, Russia and Pratt served a two-year mission to Paraguay.
• Senior team co-captain Price Paramore has a younger brother, Preston, who is a freshman at Arizona State and is the starting catcher for the Sun Devils.
• The Falcons are four wins away from 500 wins all-time at Falcon Field. Air Force is 496-370 all-time at Falcon Field.