Coming off a loss against fourth-ranked Arkansas, BYU baseball hopes to redeem itself as the team travels to California to take on UC Irvine in a three-game set.
The Cougars have a long history against the Anteaters. The teams have played each other since 1970, most recently splitting games in 2005. The Cougars lead the series 7-6 going into the series this Thursday.
“We are excited to get back at it again,” said BYU coach Vance law in a press release. “This will be a good challenge against a good club. Hopefully we learned a few things at Arkansas.”
The Cougars have had to regroup with the loss to the Razorbacks still looming over their heads.
“We noticed how we played, and how we came out, we were a bit intimidated,” said Adam Law, a sophomore shortstop from Provo. “This is something we are going to focus on as we take on top competition in the coming weeks.”
Pitching coach Wally Ritchie stressed the need to focus on the fundamentals when discussing what the team needed to do to overcome the loss at Arkansas and prep for the three-game series.
“In practice this week we have just gotten back to the basics,” Ritchie said. “We worked with our hitters on the approach at the plate, and focused on aggressive base running. We have also been working with our pitchers on first pitch strikes, and getting ahead of hitters. If we do that, I know we will be successful.”
Chris Capper, right-handed pitcher from Phoenix, will start for the Cougars on Thursday. Mark Anderson, a left-handed pitcher from California, will take the mound on Friday, with Adam Miller finishing out the series on Saturday. Miller is among five pitchers on the pitching staff who has yet to allow an earned run.
“The biggest thing that I am focusing on is first pitch strike,” Miller said. “For a pitcher, if you get a first pitch strike then you get the batter in the hole, and you are going to win always.”
Kyle Hooper, a right-handed pitcher from UC Irvine, was just named Big West pitcher of the week, coming off a complete game shutout this past weekend.
The three-game series starts Thursday at 6:30 p.m. PST. To catch all the action, log on to byucougars.com and follow the live broadcast.