This Thursday is when the umpire calls "Play Ball" as BYU's baseball team travels to the University of Arizona in the season opener for both teams.
BYU, 31-31-1 overall and the defending Mountain West Conference champion, starts the 2003 season in a three-game series at Arizona, 31-24 last season.
Junior Jeff Mousser (9-4, 4.88), an Arizona native, is scheduled to pitch in Thursday's game which starts at 3 p.m. In Tucson. Transfer Michel Bergeron is scheduled to pitch Friday afternoon. In Saturday's finale the Cougar starter will be either junior Paul Jacinto (2-3, 7.83) or senior Jason Garcia (3-1, 6.50).
Because of the unseasonably good weather in Provo, Coach Vance Law has been able to better groom this year's team with several practices outdoors in the past two weeks.
"Being outdoors for a full scrimmage is January is a first for me," said Law, who begins his fourth season at the helm. "We have to play most of our games on the road at the beginning of the season because of weather, but this year has been an exception as far as practice is concerned."
Starters returning for BYU include juniors Kainoa Obrey at third base, Rob Itri at second base, Ranger Wiens at shortstop, seniors Doug Jackson in left field and Jake Stubblefield now at first base, and sophomore Ryan Chambers now in right field.
Among the Arizona players is a former Cougar, pitcher Wesley Zlotoff. Zlotoff, who played for BYU as a freshman in 1998, was granted a medical redshirt last season, as was Obrey.
This is the first of three consecutive trips the Cougars make to Arizona. Following the Arizona series, BYU returns to the state to play a three games at Arizona State, Feb. 6-8. None of the BYU-Arizona games this weekend will be broadcast in any fashion.