By CHRISTOPHER MOORE
The BYU baseball team will hit the road again this weekend to face Southern Utah University in Cedar City. The teams will play noon doubleheaders on Friday, March 3, and Saturday, March 4.
This trip ends a string of games against non-conference opponents and will usher the team into its first-ever Mountain West Conference games.
The Cougars, 7-8, have yet to play on their home field this year. BYU hopes to hit its stride against the Thunderbirds before going to Sin City to face UNLV.
And though the team has stumbled out of the gate with inconsistent pitching and injuries, Coach Vance Law feels there is no need to panic.
“We’ll be OK,” he said. “I’ve been pleasantly surprised with our pitching and the way we have practiced. We have been playing pretty good baseball.”
Law noted that many are quick to blow off the Cougars’ MWC chances. “Many have labeled this a ‘rebuilding year’ for us, but our main goal is winning as many game as we can. We have stressed to our team that we are as good as the other four teams (in the conference), and that we are good enough to win the whole thing.”
Southern Utah appears better than its 4-4 record indicates, having beaten UNLV and New Mexico. Law says that the team shouldn’t overlook SUU because of its success this year.
In addition, he said that SUU players “are hungry to prove that they are top caliber players also. They feel like they were almost shunned by the bigger schools.”
Junior outfielder Aaron Whitley is the Cougars’ leading hitter at .421. Shortstop Seth King leads BYU with 14 hits and currently has a nine-game hitting streak.
Stanford transfer Nick Day, who was unable to play in the team’s recent trip to Colorado due to a wrist injury, is planning to test its progress with limited action at the plate. Law said that Day’s wrist is still a bit tender when fielding, but may be placed as the Cougars’ designated hitter against SUU.