Approach the University of Utah baseball team’s practice field on campus, and the distinct “ping” of bats is heard.
Look up and see a big sign with the words of the team’s slogan, “Where Champions Are Made.”
Perhaps it’s appropriate these two things are linked, as the improvement of the Utes’ bats this season is a big reason they made a surprise run to the Pac-12 championship and will open play at the NCAA Tournament’s Oxford Regional on Friday against host and top seed Ole Miss.
Consider this: in Utah’s first four seasons in the Pac-12, it finished no better than ninth in the 11-team conference in offense. The tables have turned in 2016, however, as the Utes lead the league in runs scored during conference play with 184, are second in batting average at a .298 clip and are third in hits with 289.
Those numbers helped Utah to a 19-11 record over the course of the conference schedule.
Hear what players have to say about what has led to the offensive improvement:
Ryan McDonald is a sports reporter at DeseretNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ryanwmcdonald.