Cougar baseball will face UC Riverside in season opener this weekend

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While many wade through snow banks and endure the harsh cold weather during this upcoming President’s Day weekend, the BYU baseball team heads to California to kick off its season against the University of California-Riverside.

The BYU team has been working hard to prepare. The Cougars are coming off a 31-27 record last season and a 4-0 sweep in the Dominican Republic last fall.

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Catcher Wes Guenther gets a base hit.
“The games in the Dominican gave us a chance to see our players in game-like situations and it has been valuable to us in our evaluations,” BYU coach Vance Law said. “I know they’re champing at the bit; they’re ready to go and want to play against other competition.”

The team will play a doubleheader on Friday at 3 p.m. and another game on Saturday which begins at noon.

The team may see some similar play calling and direction from the Highlanders’ pitching staff this weekend, because BYU’s former pitching coach, Bobby Applegate, is starting his first year at UC Riverside. Law said the team is excited to play against Applegate to show him what they have learned since he left.

The West Coast Conference baseball poll ranked the Cougars seventh overall this past weekend, trailing well behind WCC leaders San Diego and Gonzaga.

“It’s understandable where we’ve been picked,” Law said. “I’m not sure they know as much about our team and our tradition. I don’t anticipate finishing seventh.”

The team is excited to play in the WCC and are ready for the season to start.

“We are playing in a whole new environment,” said Chris Capper, a right-handed pitcher from Phoenix. “It’s exciting to enter into a new conference and to have a fresh start.”

Capper and junior Mark Anderson will be the starting pitchers on Friday, with Adam Miller pitching for the Cougars on Saturday.

The team has great talent coming back this season including sophomore pitchers Desmond Poulson and Marc Oslund with outfielder Jaycob Brugman, all of which were named to Freshman All-American teams.

The UC Riverside Highlanders finished with a 29-23 record last season and are ranked fifth in the Big West Conference.

To catch all the action log on to byucougars.com and follow the radio broadcast for Friday’s doubleheader.

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