Out of first place for the first time this season, BYU baseball travels to league-leading New Mexico. The Cougars, now 19-14 overall and 9-3 in the Mountain West Conference, first host a three-game series with Southern Utah, 12-11, before flying to New Mexico, 22-12 and 10-1.
The probable BYU pitching rotation for Tuesday's noon doubleheader against Southern Utah in Provo will be Jordan Opdahl (2-0, 3.08) and Rusty Gray (0-1, 4.38). On Wednesday at noon vs. SUU, Sean Noorda (2-3, 8.25) will likely get the nod. On Thursday and Friday at 7 p.m. at Albuquerque's Duke Stadium, Jeff Stone (6-3, 5.61) and Micah Mangrum (5-4, 4.35) are the respective starters. And in Saturday's 1 p.m. game with the Lobos, James Ray (3-2, 4.81) is scheduled to take the hill.
"We are not playing to our potential, especially on offense," says BYU Coach Vance Law. "As soon as we get our bats going, then we can make some noise there, too. We need to tend to our business. Right now our pitching and execution are our strengths. New Mexico is playing the best of anyone in the conference. With us falling out of first place to New Mexico, it makes for an interesting series."
The Cougars had some success last week even though they fell out of first.
Mangrum had a 3-0 lead going into the fifth inning and had struck out eight batters at San Diego State. He ended up with 13 strikeouts in the 6 3 loss. Those 13 strikeouts ties for fifth-best in school history along with former Detroit Tiger Jack Morris when he pitched seven innings vs. Utah in 1976.
The 11-inning 7-6 BYU victory in the finale at SDSU was the Cougars' first extra inning game since 1997. Kainoa Obrey's 11th-inning homer lifted BYU to the victory, Opdahl earned the win in relief, and Todd Crump posted his third save of the season.
Matt Carson extended his BYU hitting streak to 15, followed by Nick Day with a six-game current hitting streak. Craig Peterson continues to lead the Cougars with a .418 batting average while the team is hitting .317.
Because of conflicts with the Utah Jazz schedule, only Saturday afternoon's game will be broadcast live via KSRR Radio (1400 AM). That station will carry Cougar baseball updates on Thursday and Friday evening.