Last Series Before MWC Action Begins

After an idle weekend, BYU's baseball team is in action for the first time instate as it opens a four-game series this Friday at Southern Utah University.

The Cougars, now 7-8, have a noon doubleheaders on Friday and Saturday against the Thunderbirds, who have a 4-4 record. Of concern for the Cougars is the day-to-day status of Stanford transfer Nick Day and first baseman Michael Wirrick. Day missed last week's Colorado trip as his wrist was immobilized in a splint. Wirrick, also suffering from a wrist injury, played his first games as a designated hitter, but is unable to catch.

Lefty Jeff Stone (2-2, 10.88) and co-captain Micah Mangrum (3-1, 2.35) are scheduled to start for the Cougars on Friday. Saturday's probable BYU pitchers are James Ray (1-2, 5.21) and Jordan Opdahl (1-0, 0.79).

"This is the last time we can look at out team before we start conference play, but my philosophy is not to juggle lineups," says BYU Coach Vance Law. " We've got our minds where we are going to go and we need to develop some consistency in our players. We are pleased with the progress of our pitching staff. Our pitchers got ahead of a lot of hitters in Colorado and our team is starting to understand how to execute and properly adjust in different situations."

Mangrum threw BYU's first complete game and first shutout of the season with a 3-0 victory at Mesa State to start a three-game win-streak.

Junior outfielder Aaron Whitley, who saw increased playing time with Day's absence, is the Cougars' leading hitter at .421. Whitley had an inside-the-park home run to lead BYU to its last victory a week ago at Southern Colorado. Another junior transfer, Seth King, leads BYU with 14 hits and has the team's longest current hitting streak in nine games.

Following the Southern Utah series, BYU begins play in the Mountain West Conference in a three-game series at UNLV on March 9-11 when the Cougars make their debut on live local radio.

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