This Wednesday's 4 p.m. (MDT) at Las Vegas for the Mountain West Conference Tournament is the fourth time BYU, 27-27 and 15-15 in the MWC, and Utah, 25-28 and 15-15, will have squared off in baseball playoff competition.
In previous years the rivals have met each other in post-season play at Honolulu (1982), Provo (1985) and Salt Lake City (1958).
"Utah has been playing well for the last month, while we've been up and down," said BYU Coach Vance Law. "I think our guys will be ready to play when it counts."
The probable pitching rotation for BYU is Jeff Stone (9-5, 6.20) vs. Utah in the Wednesday afternoon game. On Thursday Micah Mangrum (7-8, 5.05) is expected to get the nod for either the afternoon or evening game.
Among the hot players for BYU are three newcomers, Las Vegas native Nick Day, pitcher Nate Fernley and freshman Matt Carson.
Day, a senior outfielder, is having his best season of his collegiate mark in his only year with the Cougars as the All-America candidate has better marks in runs, hits, RBI, walks, strikeouts and stolen bases than any of his years at Stanford.
Fernley was just named at the Mountain West Pitcher of the Week after throwing 98 pitches in his first start in 23 appearances to beat New Mexico in the final game at Cougar Field. Fernley, a transfer from Long Beach City College, has six saves this season.
Carson, a right fielder, leads the team with a .397 batting average and hit .450 in conference play. He has a current six-game hitting streak.
"I know our guys can compete with every team in the league," said Law. "We are better on paper than we have played. We didn't play up to our potential. We have a lot of good, young players who will form the nucleus for our future. "
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