MWC Tourney Begins Against Utah

Looking to prove the No. 13 isn't an unlucky number for BYU, the Cougars aim to make it 14-straight wins against the University of Utah on Wednesday.

The two teams open the Mountain West Conference Tournament at 11 a.m. (PST) in Las Vegas at Earl Wilson Stadium.

The No. 4 seeded Cougars enter the tournament after ending the season winning 14 of their last 19 games and finishing 28-28 and 18-12 in the MWC. The fifth seeded Utes finished the regular season 21-34 and 11-19. Utah lost seven of its final eight games including a season ending sweep to No. 1 seeded San Diego State.

With a six-game season sweep of the Utes this year, BYU is 194-84-1 all time against Utah. BYU's greatest and longest standing rivalry did not start on the football field. In 1895, the Brigham Young Academy played the first ever-intercollegiate event in Utah against the Utes on a baseball diamond. The game ended in a 0-0 tie and a bench-clearing brawl.

The Cougars will start junior southpaw Patrick Wells (7-4, 5.53) against Utah on Wednesday. Wells has picked up victories in both of his last two starts against Air Force and San Diego State. On March 25, he pitched a complete game seven hitter in a 13-3 win at Utah.

The loser of the BYU-Utah game will play the loser of the UNLV-Air Force game at 7 p.m. (PST) on Wednesday in a double elimination based tournament. San Diego State captured the No. 1 seed in the final day of the regular season and will play the winner of the BYU-Utah game at 3 p.m. (PST) on Thursday unless Air Force beats UNLV on Wednesday. If the Falcons beat the Rebels, San Diego State will play Air Force and No. 2 seeded New Mexico will play the winner between BYU and Utah.

Since last year's MWC Pitcher of the Year, Paul Jacinto, moved from starter to reliever, BYU has won 14 of their last 19 games. The senior right-hander began the year 0-8 as a starter but has gone 3-1 with three saves out of the bullpen; helping lead a phenomenal relief staff down the stretch.

After last week's six-game series with Air Force, center fielder Ryan Chambers leads the BYU squad in pitching and right-hand pitcher Paul Jacinto leads the team in hitting. Chambers came into the final inning of the final game against the Falcons and struck out all three batters he faced in his first pitching appearance with the Cougars. Jacinto made two plate appearances in the second game on Friday. He walked, scored a run and hit an RBI single to finish a perfect 1.000 in his first at-bat with BYU.

Both players were outstanding hitters and pitchers in high school. Chambers hit 17 career home runs, batted .482 and had a 1.81 ERA at Yucaipa High in Yucaipa, Calif. Jacinto had a 7-1 record with a 1.88 ERA and a .450 batting average as a third baseman at LaCosta High in Encinitas, Calif.

KOVO 960 AM, with veteran broadcaster Brent Norton calling the play-by-play, will broadcast all of BYU's tournament games live. The broadcasts are also available on the BYU Radio channel on DirecTV and the Dish Network as well as over the Internet. Live stats are available for all tournament games. Links to the webcasts and audiocast can be found on the BYU baseball's schedule page at www.byucougars.com.

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