Tourney Begins Thursday for BYU

Justin Su'a is one of three pitchers for BYU who have posted six victories this season. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

Good news and bad news came out of last week's regular season finish at San Diego as BYU readies to play Thursday in the Mountain West Conference Tournament at Salt Lake City.

The good news: the Cougars earned the No. 2 seed with a solid second-place finish in the league and on Thursday will play the highest remaining seed out of Wednesday's tourney games at 11 a.m.

The bad news: outfielder Adrian Molina is out for the remainder of the season. The junior from San Diego received permission to remain behind from the team last week in order to participate in a family baptism. Molina suffered a broken hand in a car accident when he was knocked unconscious.

BYU, 37-17-1 overall and 21-9 in the MWC, finished two games behind first-place UNLV, who also received a first-round bye in this week's league tourney. The Cougars' starting pitcher for Thursday's game is TBA, depending on the opponent.

Lefty Lance Beus (2-1, 5.50) presents a number of problems for some opponents. Junior Dave Horlacher (5-2, 3.99) has been BYU's starter for the past 14 weekends. The Cougars have three pitchers each with six victories: Matt Jensen (6-1, 2.53), Justin Su'a (6-2, 4.89) and Blake Torgerson (6-2, 6.46).

This year's BYU team has been a part of 13 broken records on the national, league and school scene. Brandon Taylor has three of those records to his credit, Jensen has two, Horlacher, Molina and Casey Cloward each own a record and the Cougar team has set three records.

If BYU wins on Thursday, its next game would be Friday afternoon at 3 p.m. If the Cougars lose on Thursday morning, they would play again that night at 7 p.m. in the loser's bracket of the double-elimination tourney.

The Cougars are hopeful of a good showing at the tourney. The tourney champion gets the league's automatic berth to next week's NCAA Regionals. BYU has submitted a bid to host one of those regionals starting next Thursday. If the Cougars falter in securing the automatic berth, they are hopeful their record is worthy of at at-large selection in tourney action that could start next Friday.

The Cougars have a 13-8 record in the MWC Tournament. BYU lost its first two games last year when the tourney was in Las Vegas; posted a 2-2 mark in 2003 at Albuquerque; won the tourney in 2002 in Provo; won the tourney in 2001 at San Diego; and had a 2-2 record in 2000 at Las Vegas.

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.

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