After finishing in fourth place in the regular season and making the tournament last season, Utah State University Eastern looks to do the same this upcoming season. They have brought in four assistant coaches, 14 newcomers, which includes three transfers and 18 returning players to reach those goals. Coach Haney’s new coaching staff comes from great playing and coaching backgrounds.
The pitching staff returns key pieces Ky Decker, Carson Hawkes, Dylan Hawkes, Tyler Fitch, Westin Corless and Nate Rhineer; they all threw a lot of innings last year and will continue to do so this year. Fans will also see contributions from names like Micah Del Rio, Troy Connell, Aiden Taylor and Owen Teuscher on the mound this year. The pitching staff has as many as a dozen guys that will make big contributions to the staff which makes it the deepest it has ever been. The team era last year was 6.20 and the staff averaged 11.06 strikeouts per game. Those numbers ranked fourth among conference members.
They also have a lot of hitters coming back that have significant college experience including Parker Joos, Vaughn Deming, Carson Hawkes, Dylan Hawkes, Ethan Hixson, Dakari Armendariz, Ty Barker and Creed Mogle. Lots of contributions will be made from these sophomores. The lineup is also expecting big contributions from many different freshmen. Last season the team had a .247 average and hit 25 home runs. Both of those numbers ranked fourth in the conference. They had a fielding percentage of .940 once again ranking them fourth in that major stat category.
The Eagles begin their season on Jan. 27, 28 and 29 with two games against Arizona Western and two games against the defending champions and current No. 1 Central Arizona. They then go on an Arizona road trip for a week playing a four-game series against Cochise College on Feb. 7 and 8th and then playing Eastern Arizona on the 10th and 11th. They cap off their preseason at home against Utah State club team Feb. 24 and 25. Conference play begins Mar. 3 and 4 at Southern Idaho, who is coming off a tournament bid. They follow that up with Community Christian at home, Colorado Northwestern on the road, the defending SWAC champs Salt Lake Community College on the road and then wrapping up the first half of the conference schedule against College of Southern Nevada at home.