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From worst to first, Utah baseball goes after first ever Pac-12 championship

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SALT LAKE CITY -- The Utah baseball team is preparing for the biggest 3-game series in the history of the program.

The Utes are in first place in the Pac-12 conference standings with three games to play against second place Washington. If the Utes can win two out of three games against the Huskies, Utah will be Pac -12 champions.

“This could be the greatest weekend of my baseball career or it could be the worst’” said Utah head coach Bill Kinneberg.  “If this could happen it would be historic.”

“It’s a special position that we’re in to win a conference championship,” said senior Dallas Carroll.  “We all know how big this series is.”

The Utes are 17-10 in Pac-12 play after winning seven of their nine conference series this season.  That’s pretty good for a team that was the preseason pick to finish in last place.

“It means even more that nobody expected us to be here, but at the same time it’s nothing new to us,” said Utah senior Kody Davis.  “This has been our mission from the beginning.”

Throughout the season everyone didn’t think we were going to stay on top,” Carroll said.  “It means everything to just prove those guys wrong, but at the same time we expected big things this year.”

One win will give the Utes at least a share of the Pac-12 title, but two wins will give them the championship outright and an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

“Our goal all along in this program is to go to the NCAA’s, so we have to win two,” Kinneberg said.  “We’re not going to probably get an at-large bid. Will it be bittersweet if we only win one? What a great accomplishment this team would have if we won a championship, or co-championship. That would be an unbelievable accomplishment. But then not to go to the NCAA’s would be a huge disappointment.”

The Utes play Washington on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  All three games start at noon at Smith’s Ballpark.