Third-ranked Alabama opens its baseball season in a first-ever meeting with BYU, 2-4, at Tuscaloosa.
The three-game series begins Thursday evening. Friday evening's 7 p.m. game (CST) will be televised live in the South by College Sports Southeast with former BYU baseball coach Glen Tuckett, who was athletic director at both schools, as its color analyst. Because of Alabama basketball conflicts, only Friday's game will be broadcast live on the internet at either www.broadcast.com, or rolltide.com, or crimsontide.com. Saturday's game time has been moved up to 2 p.m. (CST).
A 26-man roster will travel to Alabama. Scheduled to start on the mound Thursday will be Taylorsville southpaw sophomore Jeff Stone (1-0, 11.17). On Friday, Midvale senior Micah Mangrum (1-1, 4.50), a righthander gets the starting nod. On Saturday afternoon lefty junior James Ray (0-1, 5.00) returns to his native South on the mound.
"We saw that we could actually play with the Arizona schools and Florida Atlantic and could have won more games than we did. We're not going to be intimidated by Alabama," says BYU Coach Vance Law. "We responded well in Arizona against top-ranked programs and will give it our best shot at Alabama. We have stressed to our team that the game is won between the lines. We have great confidence in ourselves if we play the way we practice and execute.
"I knew Fernley (Nate) was good, but he was absolutely dominate in his two outings in keeping the batters off balance. DJ (Jackson) was not intimidated and we helped Nick Day understand to do no more than the situation allows."
Day, a transfer from Stanford, leads the Cougars with a current nine-game hitting streak. Day hit safely in the final three games of the World Series last year for the Cardinal, all against Florida State (a single on June 14, a single on June 17, and a pair of singles and a triple on June 18). He is the only Cougar to record a hit in all six games this season. Other Cougar current Cougar hitting streaks are Michael Davies 4 games, Nate Mathis 3, and Matt Carson, Seth King and Kainoa Obrey all at two.
The Alabama trip is the first time during the regular season that BYU has played east of the Mississippi River. BYU has a 3-6 record east of the Mississippi in post-season play and has a 12-29 record east of the Rocky Mountains.
Following the Alabama games, the Cougars next play at Mesa State in a three-game series on Feb. 18-19.