Locked in a three-way tie for first, BYU has little breathing room as it hosts the Air Force Academy in a three-game series beginning this Thursday.
Thursday and Friday's games begin at 2 p.m., at the UVSC field in Orem where BYU's Nate Fernley (7-1, 2.42) and Jeff Stone (0-3, 7.62) are scheduled to take the mound, respectively. Game time has been moved up on Saturday to noon with Ryan Adams (5-1, 2.56) on the hill for the Cougars.
BYU, 13-11 overall and 4-2 in the Mountain West Conference, is tied for first with Utah and San Diego State. The Cougars host Air Force, who is 14-14 overall and 1-5.
"Air Force is always dangerous and they have played a tougher schedule with some good victories (Iowa State)," said BYU Coach Vance Law. "They never quit, but we are playing solid right now, too."
Law got an opportunity for several pitchers last week in an effort to get ready for the remainder of conference play. The Cougars split with Mesa State, a Division II power, but got good outings from Fernley and Stone, among others.
BYU raised its batting average from .279 to .285 last week, with Matt Carson still leading the team at .350 and 10 home runs. Michael Wirrick's batting average jumped from .294 to number two on the team at .349. Third on the team is Kainoa Obrey, who homered in both games last week, at .333.
Obrey leads the team with a current six-game hitting streak, followed by Jeff Hiestand at five games.
Also joining the Cougars this week for the first time is pitcher Jake Chrisman, a 6-8 forward from the MWC champion BYU basketball team which was eliminated in last week's NCAA tournament.
"Jake is behind and hasn't had a chance to play in a while," said Law, who also coached Chrisman in high school. "We'll bring him along gradually because we don't want to risk injury."
All of this week's games will be broadcast live locally over KSRR Radio (1400 AM), but none of them will be carried on the Internet.
After the AFA series, BYU returns to the road to play a three-game series at UNLV.