BYU baseball 18-2, best start in program history

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Ari Davis
Head coach Mike Littlewood watches on during a game against Pacific. (Ari Davis)

The BYU baseball team is off to its best start in program history with an 18-2 record, a mark that has the Cougars receiving attention nationwide.

BYU is currently ranked No. 27 according to D1Baseball.com, the team’s first ranking in 22 years.

BYU has also received votes in the D1Baseball.com Top 25 and the USA Today Coaches’ Poll Top 25.

But the team isn’t concerned with the rankings.

“We’ve had a lot of talks about how top 25 doesn’t matter,” said head coach Mike Littlewood. “That wasn’t even one of our goals. It’s a nice feather in our cap, but we’re not gonna rest our laurels on being ranked.”

Instead, the team is concerned with winning and taking the necessary steps to make it to the NCAA postseason, a destination BYU hasn’t reached since 2002. 

“We want to win games. That’s our goal, just win,” senior shortstop Hayden Nielsen said. “The way we’re going we hope to get to Omaha, but right now we’re focused on the West Coast Conference tournament.”

BYU has made drastic improvements since the 2015 season where they went 28-25, most notably on offense. The Cougars are currently No. 1 nationally in scoring with 10.2 runs scored per game, No. 3 in team batting average at .349 and tied for No. 8 in home runs with 25. 

The team had eight games where it scored 10 or more runs last season, a number the Cougars have already surpassed by scoring more than 10 runs in 10 games this season.

The dominant offense has made it easy for the pitching staff.

“Everyone on the team is out there making plays,” right-handed pitcher Connor Williams said. “That helps a lot. Going out there and having confidence that our team is going to make plays makes it a lot easier.”

But even in the close games, the Cougars have been able to count on the pitching staff’s overall ERA of 3.30 to be dominant as well.

With a combination of good pitching and good hitting, it’s no wonder the Cougars have a stellar record.

“You’d never expect to see (18-2),” Littlewood said. “The thing I like about it is the guys don’t feel too tense about it. It just feels good that we walk out on the field every day and feel like we’re going to win.”

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