By Daniel Lund
The BYU baseball team will attempt to extend its two-game winning streak this week as they return to California to face the University of California at Riverside.
“Oh, we”re going to sweep them,” said Jake Wortham, who had a pinch-hit homerun Saturday, March 11, 2006, against Southern Utah. “Our pitchers are doing a great job and the guys are making great plays in the field.”
The Highlanders of Riverside are coming off of a three game losing streak after being swept by the University of Oklahoma in Oklahoma.
Thursday”s opening game, March 16, 2006, will feature a challenge for the Cougar as the Riverside pitcher James Simmons, is 3-1 so far and has a 1.26 ERA.
After losing their first eight games this year, the Cougars have reversed their slide and have won three of their last four games.
“It kind of feels like we figured some stuff out,” Wortham said. “We feel like we”re going to get on a real big roll here and really start pulling some games out.”
For the Cougars, pitcher Brandon Christiansen, who is undefeated and pitched a two-hitter against Southern Utah on Saturday, is not worrying about the team”s rocky start.
“It feels frustrating because we started off bad but I think we”re picking it back up and getting it going,” Christiansen said. “If you look back you”ll keep dwelling on it and nothing”s going to change.”
For this week”s series against Riverside, Christiansen said they have what it takes to win.
“Hopefully we win the series, that”s our goal,” he said. “I think we should go in there looking to take all three but we definitely have to win the series”
Despite having a team batting average of .204, the Cougars are confident that their hitting will not let them down.
“I think the biggest thing is our hitting has started to come around,” Christiansen said. “Out hitters are stepping it up.”
In a BYU Athletic Communications press release, Coach Vance Law said the team is “road-weary.”
“We need to play well and improve on last week,” Law said. “We have some hitters who are struggling and will try to get them swinging the bats.”
The two teams have met 18 times in their histories, with the outcomes split evenly between the two. The last time they met in 2004, Riverside swept the series in California.