May 21, 2009
Four players have been cut from the Air Force baseball team, which finished its season last weekend.
Sophomore pitcher Matt Barattino, junior pitcher Nick Batey, sophomore catcher Parker Mayo and sophomore pitcher Brad Pingel all were dismissed from the team.
Batey was unable to play in 2009 after undergoing Tommy John elbow surgery, and Barattino, Mayo and Pingel struggled statistically during the season.
Still, their dismissals - combined with the in-season departures of sophomore Vai Schierholtz and junior Daniel Walker, a pair of former starters - continue a trend of significant roster turnover under coach Mike Hutcheon, who just completed his sixth season.
The Gazette identified 31 players from the 2004, 2005 and 2006 seasons who either quit the team or were cut by Hutcheon.
Air Force began the 2007 season with 20 freshmen on its roster. Only seven of those players, seniors this fall, are still with the program. The Falcons had 14 freshmen on their roster at the start of the 2008 season. Of those players, now juniors to-be, only four remain.
Air Force athletic director Hans Mueh declined comment and advised Hutcheon not to comment for this story. Sports information director Troy Garnhart said the department felt commenting would contribute to sensationalizing something the athletic department feels is a non-story.
The Falcons finished the season 14-37 and in last place in the Mountain West Conference for the seventh straight year.