By Daniel Lund
BYU”s baseball team will begin their season Thursday, Feb. 9, 2006, when they travel to California to begin a three-game series against the University of the Pacific.
“We”re waiting. We want to play our first game out there,” said centerfielder Adrian Molina. “Everybody has a big grin on their face. I think we”re ready.”
The cougars look to start this season strong against a Pacific team that is returning 21 letter players including seven starters. Pacific opened its season last weekend going 2-1 against Santa Clara University.
“We can”t go in there worrying about how many games they”ve played,” Molina said. “We just got to go in there and do what we know how to do and then hopefully we”ll come out on top.”
Thursday”s opening game will see right-hand pitcher Jesse Craig starting the pitching rotation followed by leftie Patrick Wells on Friday and right-hander Brandon Christiansen closing the series on Saturday.
Second baseman Daniel Vargas, who will be starting his first collegiate game on Thursday, said despite the fact that they have not practiced outdoors since November he is very confident in the Cougar”s prospects.
“I think we can go out there and win 3 and 0,” Vargas said. “We”ve been hitting the ball real well lately and I think if we keep that up Monday and Tuesday we can do it real well Thursday.”
The Cougars will have to play at their best to secure wins against Pacific. Pacific is led by third baseman Justin Baum, who is a Preseason Collegiate Baseball All-American. Baum led Pacific last year to their first winning season since 1999.
“This team [Pacific] is definitely on the rise,” Luke Masetti, a right-handed pitcher for Pacific and opening game starter, told The Record.
Cougar Coach Vance Law said he is ready to begin the season and erase last season”s memory of a season-ending loss to UNLV.
“We are excited for the season to get underway,” Law said. “We are tired of our own pitching. Everybody is anxious to start up where we left off last season with continued intensity.”
Third baseman Chris Johnson, who just recently returned from serving a mission, said he feels they will come home with three W”s.
“I definitely think we”re going to come out on top,” Johnson said. “It”s our goal and we”re going to get it done.”