Seeding in the Mountain West Conference Baseball Tournament is key, so that is why this week's three-game series between BYU and UNLV in Provo takes on added importance.
The Cougars, now 17-24-1 overall and 10-10 in the MWC, are five-and one-half games out of first place, but dropped from their second-place standing. UNLV, 24-23 and 9-12, joined Utah as the only teams who played above the .500 level last week.
"Every team is pretty good in our league this year, so no one is a shoe-in to win all three games of a series," said BYU Coach Vance Law. UNLV won its last two games at New Mexico last weekend, while BYU split with the Air Force Academy in the rain-shortened series in Provo.
Jeff Mousser (7-3, 4.20) is scheduled to start on the mound for BYU in Thursday's game which begins at 7 p.m. For the second week in a row, no Cougar starter has been announced for Friday's game also at 7 p.m. Paul Jacinto (2-2 ,6.42) is the probable pitcher for Saturday's game at 1 p.m.
Jacinto didn't get to start last Saturday because the game with the AFA was canceled. Had that game been played, Cameron Coughlan was scheduled to return to defensive action at second base. Coughlan has only been able to play as a designated hitter the past three weekends because of an elbow injury.
With Coughlan back in the lineup, Law has a little more flexibility in his batting order, especially if Ryan Chambers is able to return by the end of the week to the outfield. Chambers has been sidelined with a hamstring injury.
"We are going to try and use the next three weeks to build and gain confidence towards our conference tournament," said Law, realizing the MWC Tournament automatic berth is the only remaining path to qualify for NCAA post-season play. BYU hosts the six-team MWC league tournament On May 22-25, but no one is likely to surpass San Diego State as the number one seed.
Dave Jensen continues to lead the Cougars with his .382 batting average and 13-game hitting streak.
In addition to the Cougar-Rebel series being broadcast live locally over KOVO Radio (960 AM), long-distance fans can listen live on the Internet to UNLV's audiocast on Friday and Saturday at http://unlvrebels.fansonly.com/sports/m-basebl/unlv-m-basebl-sched.html. Fans can also read the live webcast of all of this week's games at Game One, Game Two and Game Three.
Individual baseball game prices at Miller Park are $5 for public and $3 for students, faculty, staff and senior citizens. Season reserved seats can be obtained with a Cougar Card for $30. Otherwise, reserved seats for the season are $30 for students or $60 for public. For groups of 15 or more, there is a special rate of $2 per person. For reserved tickets, phone 801 378-BYU1. All-sport and Cougar Cards must be shown at the ticket office on the game day and redeemed for a reserved seat, based on availability. Tickets are on sale at the ticket office on the north side of Miller Park.
Additionally, some ticket packages are now on sale for the MWC Tournament by phoning 1-800-322-BYU1.