Fresh off its upset at second-ranked Alabama, BYU's baseball team is now closer to home at Grand Junction, Colo. Mesa State, 1-5, hosts BYU, 3-6, in a three-game series this weekend.
The three-game series with Mesa begins Friday at 2 p.m. with Jeff Stone scheduled to take the mound. Micah Mangrum (2-1, 3.38) will start Saturday's doubleheader at noon, with James Ray (0-2, 5.00) scheduled to be on the hill in the nightcap.
On President's Day, Feb. 21, the Cougars start a three-game series at the University of Southern Colorado, 4-4. Monday's doubleheader begins at noon vs. USC in Pueblo, Colo., while Tuesday's single game is at noon. None of the games will be broadcast.
BYU leads the series with Mesa State, 76-12. The Cougars also lead the series with Southern Colorado, 19-6.
"We continue to work on our fundamentals, an area where we haven't been sharp," said BYU Coach Vance Law. "I'm pleased with the improvement of our pitching staff. Micah Mangrum is pitching with great confidence and poise. We have a feeling for where we want our program to be after Alabama. There we got our hitters in situations where they executed when we needed them. We are hoping Nick Day (wrist sprain) will be ready to play. Our goal is to win the next three series, so we won't experiment to the point of losing a game. It shouldn't matter who we play, whether they are ranked or unranked."
Mangrum did not give up any walks in facing 25 batters for six innings in BYU's 8-3 upset over Alabama. The loss snapped Alabama's 15-game home winning streak. Reliever Nate Fernley worked himself out of a seventh inning jam with runners on second and third by striking out three batters in a row to earn his first save of the season. He recorded six strikeouts in three innings. Designated hitter Michael Davies hit a three-run homer in the first inning of that victory. The Crimson Tide won the opener, 11-1, and hung on to win the third game, although BYU closed the gap to 8-6 in the eighth.
The 18,630 fans who attended the BYU-Alabama games helped set a new three-game series record for the Crimson Tide, surpassing the old mark of 15,351 in 1997 with three sellout crowds of 5,177 against LSU. The crowds of 6,242, 6,222 and 6,166 are the fifth, sixth, and seventh best crowds in BYU history.
The current Cougar hitting streak leader is Craig Peterson with seven games. Mangrum was named Mountain West Conference Pitcher of the Week for his victory at No. 19 Arizona.
In addition to the upset over Alabama, last week was a big one for the Cougars with the announcement for BYU's new baseball/softball complex to be called Miller Park in honor of Larry H. and Gail Miller, who made a significant financial contribution toward the facility. The baseball field will be named Larry H. Miller Field.