Tri-captain Tanner Chauncey brings a four-game hitting streak into this week's three-game series at CSU Bakersfield as the Cougars return to California. (Photo by BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)
A return to California against CSU Bakersfield provides BYU’s baseball team an opportunity to work through issues in week three of the season.
The Cougars, 3-4, are hosted by the Roadrunners, 6-2, who are on a five-game win streak. Games are Thursday and Friday at 6 p.m. PST, followed by a noon finale on Saturday.
“I don't believe our record is indicative of how well we've been playing,” BYU coach Mike Littlewood said. “Every one of our games have been so close we can point to one or two plays that have determined the outcome of each game. Once we start hitting on all cylinders we should be a very tough team to beat.”
There have been several bright spots in the pitching corps, but late inning rallies have haunted the Cougars. A pair of 3-2 losses in 10 and 13 innings plus a 4-2 loss last week are indicators BYU’s offense needs more consistency.
Maverik Buffo (1-1, 3.27) will start on the mound in Thursday’s opener, followed by Brady Corless (1-0, 2.03) on Friday, with both games starting at 6 p.m. PST. Saturday’s Cougar starting pitcher is Kendall Motes (0-0, 0.00) for the noon start.
Cougar pitchers combined for 20 strikeouts in the 13-inning 3-2 loss, including a dozen by Corless. Buffo got his first victory last week with a 6-0 shutout, striking out eight in his six innings of work. Motes also threw a shutout in his five innings of work when he started last Saturday.
“CSUB is a good team that is off to a very hot start and we're excited to see if we can meet the challenge this week,” Littlewood said.
The Roadrunners have impressive wins over UC Santa Barbara and Utah, who won their respective leagues last season.
After the CSUB series, BYU returns to Provo for its home opener on March 9 which starts a four-game stand against UC Santa Barbara.
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