A final out-of-state series in BYU's baseball season pits the Cougars against the Falcons at the Air Force Academy this Friday.
The Cougars, 22-20 overall and 10-8 in the Mountain West Conference, are still in second place, but now tied with San Diego State. Air Force, 18-22 and 3-13, owns league victories over BYU, Utah and UNLV.
The probable BYU pitching rotation will be Jeff Stone (7-4, 5.75)in Friday's game at 2 p.m. Micah Mangrum (5-6, 4.42) is scheduled to start the seven-inning game on Saturday at noon, while in the nightcap Jordan Ophahl (3-0, 3.34) will get his first start in the regular rotation.
Opdahl replaces fellow lefty James Ray (3-2, 5.68) in the rotation and has been impressive in many of his 13 appearances, including three starts in non-conference action.
"We are returning to stressing some of the things that made us successful earlier this season," said BYU Coach Vance Law. "Normally when we score the amount of runs we did last week it has been enough, but our pitchers need to get the ball down in the strike zone again. We are disappointed, but not discouraged. Air Force has some good pitchers. Traditionally, we don't play well right after finals, but we hope to win the first game and have that carry us on to an advantage in the series. "
Leading the Cougars not only with a current seven-game hitting streak, but also with 35 RBI, 12 doubles and nine homers is freshman third baseman Kainoa Obrey. Fellow freshman Matt Carson is leading the team with a .381 batting average. Carson, an outfielder, and catcher Michael Davies are tied in being hit by pitches 11 times each, one off tying the school record.
Prior to final exams the Cougars struggled, losing all three games last week when they hosted UNLV. This is a critical week in the MWC race with SDSU hosting league-leading New Mexico.
The first two BYU games at AFA will be broadcast live over KSRR Radio (1400 AM) locally.