A pair of nationally ranked baseball teams start BYU's schedule this week as it ventures for only the third time to the Midwest in the regular season.
On Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. CDT the Cougars, 29-17, play a single game at Oklahoma State, 34-15, in Stillwater. On Wednesday afternoon at 4 p.m. CDT, BYU travels to play Oral Roberts University, 35-9, at Tulsa.
Nate Fernley, the nation's winningest pitcher at 12-2, will start the game at Oklahoma State, while freshman Scott Koffman, 2-0, may get the nod against ORU. Oklahoma State has been ranked throughout the season in the top 20 until recent weeks and checks in at No. 29 in at the latest Baseball Weekly/ESPN poll. ORU's Titans are ranked No. 30 in the latest Collegiate Baseball poll.
"We are facing two quality programs which will be a good measuring stick for us," said BYU Coach Vance Law. "It's nice to play a couple games like this outside of our conference."
The game with Oklahoma State can be heard live on the Internet at www.broadcast.com/sports/ncaa/OklahomaState/Baseball/
The Cougars are in first place by two games now in the Mountain West Conference with a 17-7 record after a three-game sweep of second-place San Diego State last weekend. SDSU is the only common opponent between BYU and Oklahoma State, who lost 16-2 to the Aztecs last February. BYU and ORU share Southern Utah as a common opponent and the Titans beat the T-Birds in four straight last month.
ORU has won 20 of its last 23 games, OSU has won nine of its last 13 games and BYU has won 14 of its last 17 games. BYU's Shane Belliston has a 19-game hitting streak. The Cougars have made four entries this season into the school record books, the latest being Michael Wirrick getting hit by 15 pitches this season.
Hawai'ians Doug Jackson and Kainoa Obrey continue to lead the Cougar bats with batting averages of .399 and .387, respectively. Obrey and Matt Carson lead BYU in hits with 67 and 66, respectively. Obrey has hit 16 doubles, while Carson leads the league with 16 home runs.
Ten Cougars had significant raises to their batting average, the most significant of which was Wirrick climbing from .337 to .364. BYU raised its team batting average from .311 to .321.
Three of BYU's freshman pitchers have undefeated records, Koffman and Jeff Mousser each at 2-0 and Justin Su'a at 3-0.
Two years ago BYU lost a pair of games at Oklahoma State and was scheduled to play a pair of games at OSU this season until the Cowboys ran into a quota problem. ORU was substituted to BYU's schedule in place of the second OSU game.
After the games in Oklahoma, BYU returns to league action with a three-game series this weekend at the Air Force Academy. Fernley is scheduled to pitch again on Saturday morning at AFA to start a doubleheader.
The Cougars close the home season on May 10-12 against UNLV.