Apana Nakayama, BYU's DH, is the toughest man to strike out in the MWC and 40th in the nation, according to the latest NCAA statistics. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
No. 1 in the nation at slugging and doubles are two kudos for BYU as it hosts the final six games of the home season, beginning Thursday with a three-game series against New Mexico.
The Cougars, 32-13-1, are tied for first place in the Mountain West Conference at 16-5 with UNLV, while UNM is tied for fourth with Utah at 9-12.
BYU ascended to the nation's lead with a .564 slugging percentage in the latest NCAA statistics and are still on school-record pace averaging 2.93 doubles. The Lobos also have a national leader with Garrick Haymore averaging .21 triples as UNM is second as a team in the nation in that category at 0.71.
BYU also has some individual leaders topped by Brandon Taylor and Ben Saylor. Taylor, who was named to a national player of the week honor for the second consecutive week, is sixth in the nation with his 18 homers and is fifth nationally in RBI with a 1.51 average. Saylor is third nationally, averaging 0.5 doubles.
The Cougars are hopeful for the return of freshman phenom Sean McNaughton this week after he was sidelined last month with a broken thumb. UNM also has a top freshman second baseman in Jordan Pacheco who leads the MWC in several categories.
BYU will be starting Dave Horlacher (4-2, 3.84) on the mound in Thursday's game at 7 p.m., at Larry H. Miller Field. On Friday, BYU Coach Vance Law has tapped a new starter in junior southpaw Lance Beus (1-0, 6.48), also starting at 7 p.m. This is the first start of the season for Beus, who had arm surgery last Fall. On Saturday at 1 p.m., freshman Blake Torgerson (5-2, 5.77) will be the BYU starter.
Saturday vs. UNM is Cosmo's Kids Club Day and Kids Take Over MilleryyÂ´Park Day. Kids will be helping take tickets, read PA's, select music, and rake the field with the grounds crew. Kids will be selected starting at 12 noon at Cosmo's Kids Club Party. There is a FREE Youth Baseball Clinic (ages of 8-12, pre-register on www.byucougars.com) following the 1 p.m. game vs. New Mexico.
Next week, BYU closes its regular season at home with a three-game stand against UNLV.
A multi-page release can be found by downloading the PDF file at the top of this story, which gives a detailed analysis of the Cougars.