Junior Chris Capper will be BYU's starting pitcher for the season opener on Friday at UC Riverside. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
Strategy is key in this Friday’s season opener for BYU baseball in a doubleheader at the University of California, Riverside.
The Cougars, 31-27 overall last year, have a three-game series at Riverside, 29-23, before their debut in the West Coast Conference at Saint Mary’s the following week. Friday’s doubleheader against the Highlanders starts at 3 p.m. PST. The third game will be on Saturday at noon.
Signs, pitches and tendencies are familiar to both squads because former BYU pitching coach Bobby Applegate is in his first year on the UCR staff. Applegate will recognize the three BYU starting pitchers now groomed by first-year pitching coach Wally Ritchie, a former Major Leaguer.
Right-hander Chris Capper (3-6, 4.91 in 2011) and fellow junior Mark Anderson (4-2, 5.04), a southpaw, will start for BYU on Friday. Saturday’s Cougar starter is right-handed sophomore Adam Miller, who posted a 3-3 record and 4.04 ERA at BYU prior to serving a mission to Mexico.
“We are excited for the season to begin,” said BYU coach Vance Law. “We shoot for improvement in our players’ skill since the first day of school. Our players have developed and bought into the team concept.”
The Cougars have held nine scrimmages, including a final brisk one outdoors last Saturday, since November’s games in the Dominican Republic in preparation for this season.
“The games in the Dominican gave us a chance to see our players in a game-like situations and it has been valuable to us in our evaluations,” Law said.
None of the BYU-UCR games will be broadcast over BYU radio, which starts broadcasting several Cougar games the following week. However, there is a live audio stream of the UCR doubleheader through a link on www.byucougars.com.