As BYU readies to travel to UNLV for a three-game baseball series starting this Thursday, there's good news and bad.
The good news is that the distance from first place Utah isn't as wide as it could have been. The Cougars are one game out with a 5-4 record in the Mountain West Conference. The bad news is that BYU's second-best starting pitcher is out for a couple weeks with a broken hand.
BYU, now 14-13 overall, plays at UNLV, 12-17 and 4-5, beginning Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m. (PST) and Saturday at 2 p.m. (PST). However, the Cougars will be without the services of Ryan Adams, 5-2, 3.24, who suffered a broken bone in his throwing hand.
The probable starter for BYU's Thursday game with the Rebels will likely be Nate Fernley, 8-1, 2.59, who has been the lead-off pitcher most of the season.
"With Adams out we will have to look at our rotation," said BYU Coach Vance Law. "We need to get back to the basics this week and discipline ourselves. We can't allow teams to come in to Provo to and take two games from us like Air Force did."
The Cougars dropped two of three last weekend to AFA in the first home league games of the season. Other than Fernley winning, among the highlights last weekend was Doug Jackson going five-for-five in game two as he lifted his batting average from .311 to .378 last week. Jackson was one of eight Cougars to raise batting averages as the team's average also rose from .285 to .296.
Jackson was the lead-off batter in all three games last week and tripled in the first two games. Teammate Tyler Perry tied a school record by hitting two triples in the opening game with AFA.
BYU's games at UNLV will be broadcast by KSRR (1400 AM) locally. Friday and Saturday's games will also be broadcast over the Internet on UNLV's website at nternet at either http://unlvrebels.fansonly.com/sports/m-basebl/unlv-m-basebl-sched.html. After the UNLV series, BYU plays at Southern Utah on its return home from Las Vegas on April 2-3 before playing at league-leading Utah on April 5-7.
BYU returns home to play for the first time in newly-constructed Miller Park on April 12 against New Mexico. Game time for the April 13 BYU-UNM game has been moved up one hour to 5 p.m.