For only the second time this season, BYU returns to Provo for a three-game series, hosting San Diego State beginning Thursday.
After playing 35 of 38 games on the road, the Cougars finish the regular season with 13 of their final 19 games at home. BYU is 0-3 at home after being swept by UNLV in March. Thursday and Friday's game times are scheduled for 7 p.m. with a noon start on Saturday.
Coached by future major league hall of famer Tony Gwynn, San Diego State enters the series after winning one game at Air Force with two games in the series being snowed out. The Aztecs are tied with UNLV on top of the Mountain West Conference standings with an 8-2 conference record and are 19-20 overall. BYU is fourth in the MWC at 4-8 and 14-24.
The Cougars are 30-56-1 against San Diego State all-time. Last season BYU split the six regular season games with the Aztecs. In the 2003 MWC Tournament in Albuquerque, San Diego State knocked the Cougars out of the tournament with two victories. BYU lost seven straight to the Aztecs in 2002 before winning back-to-back games in the MWC Tournament in Provo to win the championship and move on to the NCAA Regionals.
Flame-thrower Nick Lemon (1-2, 1.89) will make his first start on Friday. The junior has appeared in 13 games, pitching 19 innings with 23 strikeouts, 23 walks, 11 wild pitches, five hit batters and two saves. Averaging 10.9 K's per game, opponents are hitting a measly .102 with six hits off Lemon whose fastball has been clocked as high as 98 mph. His longest appearance this year came in a 17-inning victory over Utah on March 27. Lemon no-hit the Utes for 5 1/3 innings, picking up his first win in a 5-4 marathon.
Thursday and Saturday's starting pitchers remain the same with Patrick Wells (5-3, 5.37), the team leader in wins with five, the probable opening-series starter and Justin Su'a (2-2, 5.18) pitching the series final.
Senior Paul Jacinto (0-8, 6.52) will make the transition to the bullpen this week. The 2003 MWC Pitcher of the Year has smoked the opposition much of the year in the early innings and will add some experience to a struggling pen. He pitched a seven-hit complete game in a 1-0 loss to New Mexico on April 2. Jacinto has had success out of the bullpen, pitching 17 games in relief at BYU with one save.
Friday's game will be a live television broadcast on BYUTV, usually channel 21 locally, which is available nationally through DirectTV Plus (channel 374) and the Dish Network (channel 9403). The television broadcast can also be streamed live over the Internet. Veteran play-by-play announcer Jay Monsen and analyst Gary Sheide, a former BYU quarterback, will call the broadcast.
All three BYU-SDSU games can be listened to live on KOVO 960 AM with Brent Norton doing the play-by-play, and Saturday's game is also available on DirectTV and the Dish Network through the BYU Radio channel and over the Internet. All three games can be followed live with Gametracker and live audio. Links to the webcasts, audio casts and video casts can be found on BYU baseball's schedule page at www.byucougars.com. Clicking on the "Live Audio" link for Friday's game will link you to the television broadcast.