Third baseman Brandon Taylor is BYU's RBI leader as the Cougars play at nationally ranked Oregon State on Monday and Tuesday. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
Baseball games Monday and Tuesday at Oregon State will be a showdown for BYU as it travels to Corvallis, Ore.
The Cougars, 17-5-1 overall and tied for first place with UNLV at 5-1 in the Mountain West Conference, have a pair of games against Oregon State, 19-4.
This is the second-best start for BYU in school history. BYU was 18-5 in 1980, 17-6 in 1983 (the year we were ranked No. 1 going into the NCAA Regionals), 15-6 in 1969, 15-6-2 in 1986 and 16-7 in 1972.
BYU has won its last six games in a row, 15 of its past 17 games, and had an eight-game win streak earlier in the season. OSU has won 10 of its last 12 games.
"This will give us a good indicator where we stand," said BYU Coach Vance Law, whose team has victories over nationally ranked UC Irvine, Oklahoma State and Oral Roberts thus far.
OSU is the highest-ranked team BYU has played to date. The Beavers are No. 14 in the NCBWA Poll, No. 18 in Baseball America, No. 23 in Sports Weekly/ESPN and No. 28 in Collegiate Baseball. BYU has not received votes in any of these national polls this season, but the Cougars are currently rated No. 14 by Boyd's World, a power-ranking system which has OSU at No. 2.
The Beavers open their Pac-10 Conference season this weekend when they host the University of California, starting on Friday. OSU moved up last Saturday's finale of a three-game series in Corvallis against Dallas Baptist to a Friday doubleheader which the Beavers swept.
The Cougars probable starters for the OSU games are juniors Matt Jensen (4-0, 5.03) and Mitch Woolf (1-0, 4.30), respectively for Monday's game at 5 p.m. (PST) and Tuesday's 1 p.m. (PST) tilt. Mainline starters David Horlacher (1-1), Brandon Christiansen (2-0) and Blake Torgerson (2-1) will not make the trip to Oregon in order to be rested for their usual weekend rotation as BYU prepares to host Air Force, 4-16 and 0-3, on Thursday.
Fans can follow the BYU-OSU games live on the Internet through live webcasts (free) and live audiocasts (fee-based) on links found on www.byucougars.com.
Both BYU and OSU swept the only common opponent between the two this season, New Mexico State. OSU won a pair of games against NMSU at a tournament in Arizona to start the season, while BYU swept the Aggies in a three-game series three weeks ago at Las Cruces.
OSU leads the series with BYU, 8-6 in a series that started in 1971. The Beavers won the last meeting in 1995 at a tournament in Spokane, Wash., 19-3. BYU won the previous meeting in 1991 at the Riverside Baseball Invitational in California, 5-1. The two teams have played one game away from tournament action in 1972, which BYU won, 5-2.
A multi-page release can be found by downloading the PDF file at the top of this story, which gives a detailed analysis of the Cougars.