Pacific Hosts Invitational

PROVO -- A return to California on Thursday hopes to boost the confidence of a BYU team off to a 0-3 start.

"Being outside really helps us," head coach Vance Law said. "A couple of our players competed well, but overall we were lacking. We've had a rougher start, but we're all going to get better."

The Cougars will get their first chance to play under the lights in the Pacific Invitational hosted by the University of Pacific. Thursday's game against St. Mary's and Friday's game against Pacific are both scheduled for 6 p.m. (PST) with a final tournament game on Saturday against the University of Nevada (Reno) at 2 p.m. (PST).

Paul Jacinto (0-1, 4.05) is the probable starter for Thursday with Bryce Searle (0-1, 21.00) and Patrick Wells (0-1, 5.40) most likely getting the remaining weekend starts.

Going into the tournament, both first baseman Tim Law and outfielder Ben Saylor have three-game hitting streaks. Saylor leads the team with five hits, and infielder Rob Itri is the team's RBI leader with four.

The St. Mary's Gaels were swept by Cal Poly at home in three games to open its season. St. Mary's is coming off an 18-37-1 season and are picked to finish last in the West Coast Conference.

Pacific plays its season opener against BYU. The Tigers feature a new coaching staff with first time head coach Ed Sprague, a former major league all-star, leading the crew.

Nevada opens its season in the invitational after finishing 32-24 in 2003. Saturday's game will be the first of two meetings between BYU and Nevada this year. The two teams also pair up at the Battle at the Beach Tournament hosted by Pepperdine on Feb. 27.

BYU's leading hitter, Ranger Wiens, will face his former team for the first time since joining the Cougars in 2002. Wiens played his freshman year with the Wolf Pack in 1999 before serving a Church mission. He helped lead Nevada to a 38-20 record and a 21-9 mark in the Big West.

Monday the Cougars travel south for a two-game series against Santa Clara University on Monday and Tuesday at 6 and 3 p.m. (PST). The Broncos began their season winning two of three games at No. 34 UC Riverside. The pitching starters for the series are to be announced.

Friday's and Saturday's games can be followed by live audio, and all of the games except for the match-up on Friday can be tracked with live stats. The live audio in the Nevada game on Saturday requires a College Sports Pass. The pass is also required to listen to future games scheduled against Fresno and San Diego State. Information on the pass and a free 14-day trial pass can be found through a link on BYU's web site. Links to all the web casts can be found at www.byucougars.com.

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