Cougars to Battle at the Beach

Three schools join BYU in the Battle at the Beach Tournament hosted by Pepperdine in Malibu, Calif., beginning Thursday.

The Cougars (3-11) will take on Pepperdine (2-4) Thursday at 2 p.m. (PST) in the tournament's opening game. On Friday at 10 a.m. (PST), BYU will meet Nevada (4-5) for the second time this season in a tournament. The Cougars beat the Wolf Pack 3-1 at the Pacific Invitational in Stockton, Calif. on Feb. 7.

BYU will finish the tournament against Cal State Northridge (5-8) on Saturday at 10 a.m. (PST). The meeting will be the first of three match-ups this season against the Matadors with games scheduled at Northridge, Calif., on March 4 and 6.

BYU most likely will go with the same pitching rotation it went with last week against San Jose State. The probable starters are Patrick Wells (1-2, 5.06) on Thursday, Paul Jacinto (0-4, 6.07) on Friday and Justin Su'a (1-1, 4.24) on Saturday. All three pitchers received no decisions against the Spartans and helped the Cougars drop their team ERA from 6.73 to 5.63.

"I thought the pitching would be questionable, but it's been the other way around," said BYU head coach Vance Law. "Our pitching has given us a lot of opportunities to win."

In a series last week where all three games were decided by a run in the final inning, the Cougars came away with one win at San Jose State (5-4-1).

BYU won the final game of the series 3-2 in extra innings on Saturday. Adam Wilkes delivered a winning RBI single in the 10th inning to give BYU its third victory of the season. Nathan Hess (1-1) won his first game, entering the game in relief of Su'a (1-1) who started the game. Nick Lemon earned his first save, pitching a scoreless 10th.

Saturday's extra-inning game may be the first time in BYU history that the Cougars played back-to-back extra-inning games. The Cougars lost to the Spartans 2-1 in the 10th inning on Friday. The Spartans won 4-3 on Saturday, scoring the winning run in the ninth inning on a strikeout/wild pitch combination.

Pepperdine's match-up with BYU can be followed through a fee-based live audio webcast, and the game against Nevada can be followed live through Gametracker. Links to the webcasts can be found at www.byucougars.com.

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