Both BYU and Texas Tech open their baseball seasons against each other in a three-game series which starts this Thursday at Lubbock, Texas.
The Cougars, 38-22 last season when they won the Mountain West Conference, play games Thursday, Friday and Saturday against the Red Raiders, who were 43-20-1 last season as a second-place finisher in the Big 12 Conference.
Senior southpaw Jeff Stone of Taylorsville is scheduled to start on the mound in Thursday afternoon's game. Stone, who has a 26-11 career record at BYU, is six wins shy of setting the Cougar career record. BYU's other starting pitchers will be senior Ryan Adams, 6-2, 4.10 last season, and sophomore Scott Koffman, 3-1, 7.44.
"We've got some solid starters and our depth is coming along with our pitchers," said third-year BYU Coach Vance Law.
"We have proven offense, but our defense may be a little slow coming from indoors. I can talk until I'm blue in the face about how good we can be, but we need to believe in ourselves even though we're still kind of a new club."
In preparation for these early season games, Law's charges have been working outdoors on BYU's new field turf fielding fungo's and fly balls. He thinks BYU's offense may take time to gel, but adds his hitters may do well since it is harder to hit indoors with a background of white nets.
BYU returns four starters, including pre-season All-American juniors Matt Carson and Kainoa Obrey, all-conference outfielder Doug Jackson, and summer All-American catcher Lars Birkeland. Among the newcomers to the squad are transfer shortstop Ranger Wiens who joins fellow returned missionary Dave Jensen in the infield. Jensen, a first-baseman, was a freshman All-American before his mission and was drafted by the pros while still on his mission.
The games at Texas Tech will be played at 3 p.m. CST on Thursday and Friday and at noon on Saturday. All of the games can be heard live on the Internet at www.texastech.com.
Following the games at Texas Tech, BYU returns home to prepare for a three-game series next week at Cal-Irvine.
The Cougars' home season begins at March 21 at Miller Park when it hosts San Diego State in Tony Gwynn's conference debut on the Aztec coaching staff.
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