No. 21 UC Irvine opens Cougar season in Provo

Jaycob Brugman, Chunner Nyberg and Adam Law join teammates in hosting No. 21 UC Irvine in a three-game series starting Thursday in Provo. (Photo by Mark A Philbrick/BYU Photo)

No. 21 UC Irvine plays a three-game series in Provo this week to become BYU baseball’s official home opener.

The Cougars (7-6) host UC Irvine (10-2) after having last week’s scheduled home opener moved to St. George because of playing conditions at Larry H. Miller Field.

“UC Irvine is a great challenge for us because they are a solid baseball team that has beat up some good teams thus far,” BYU coach Mike Littlewood said. “We want to set a precedent to win home series, so we need to go about our game plan, throw strikes, get timely hitting and continue not beating ourselves.”

Junior co-captain Desmond Poulson (2-0, 1.23 earned run average) is scheduled to start for BYU on the mound in Thursday’s game, which starts at 3 p.m. MST.  On Friday, also at 3 p.m., junior Adam Miller (0-3, 4.66) will be BYU’s starter.  And on Saturday at noon, sophomore Jeff Barker (2-1, 1.89) is scheduled to start for the Cougars.

The Anteaters’ scheduled pitcher for game three on Saturday is the nation’s leading pitcher Andrew Morales who brings a 4-0 record and a 2.60 ERA into the afternoon contest.

The Anteaters bring the nation’s No. 3 batting average of .337 and No. 3 fielding percentage of .991 into the series. The Cougars are No. 2 in the nation in double plays turned.

All three games will be broadcast live locally over KOVO Radio 960 AM.

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