By Christopher Graham
The BYU baseball team will travel to Colorado to take on the Air Force Academy Falcons in a three game series beginning Wednesday, May 14.
BYU enters the series 25-21 on the season with a 16-11 record in the Mountain West Conference.
Air Force is struggling this season, standing in last place in the MWC with an overall record of 14-35 and a disappointing 2-25 in conference play.
BYU is in third place in the MWC, one game behind New Mexico.
Depending on how New Mexico plays this weekend against San Diego State, BYU will probably need three wins against Air Force to put it alone in second place in the MWC.
A No. 2 seed in the MWC tournament would mean the Cougars would play the University of Utah. BYU has won all six games against the Utes this season, and Utah would be a much more favorable draw than playing SDSU.
“We really need to keep playing heads up baseball,” BYU head coach Vance Law said. “Even though they shouldn”t beat us, they could. They aren”t just a bunch of stiffs out there. There is a reason they are playing Division I baseball.”
The Cougars currently have a .320 batting average and 5.99 team ERA.
The Cougars swept the Falcons in a three game series in April. BYU scored a record number of runs with 22 in the third game of the series.
Air Force and BYU have played 121 times and the Cougars hold a 111-20 lead in the series that began in 1962.
BYU infielder Ranger Wiens leads the team and is second in the MWC with a .407 batting average. Starting pitcher Paul Jacinto leads the league with eight wins and is second with a 3.87 ERA.
Air Force senior Josh Phifer leads the MWC in batting average, slugging percentage and on-base percentage. He is one of two players in the league with a .400 or better average. His .414 average is seven points higher than Wiens” average. Phifer could become the first player in the four-year history of the league to lead the MWC in all three categories in the same season.
Air Force has struggled to win close games this season. The Falcons are 0-8 in games decided by one run and have lost nine games in their opponent”s final at-bat.
AFA is 0-3 in extra innings with losses coming against Northern Colorado, New Mexico and Hawaii.
Each game will begin at 2 p.m. in this series, which will mark the end of the regular season for BYU.
The Cougars will be heading to Albuquerque, N.M. for the MWC tournament May 21-24.
Law will be looking to give his starting pitchers one last chance to hone in their pitches before heading to the tournament.