PROVO, Utah -- Before league play begins this week in Provo, BYU’s baseball team has a non-conference game on Tuesday night at Utah Valley University.
The Cougars (6-10) have a four-game winning streak after sweeping Hartford to open the home season last week. BYU plays at UVU (3-11) on Tuesday at 6 p.m., when Brady Corless (0-2, 12.71) will be its starting pitcher.
"Anytime we play an in-state team it makes for an interesting game, whether it be Utah or Utah Valley,” BYU coach Mike Littlewood said. “We know how important those games are for in-state recruiting, as well as local bragging rights. Rivalry is the farthest thing from the relationship Eric (Madsen) and I have. I’ve always had the utmost respect for the way he goes about things and how he runs his program.”
West Coast Conference action begins with a three-game series on Thursday in Provo against Pepperdine (8-8) when Kolton Mahoney (1-1, 3.09) takes the mound. Both Thursday and Friday’s games start at 6 p.m., withJeff Barker (1-1, 4.37) on the hill in game two. Brandon Kinser (1-1, 2.49) will be the Cougar starter in Saturday’s game at 1 p.m.
Sophomore centerfielder Brennon Lund has a current eight-game hitting streak and with his .319 batting average is one of six Cougars hitting above .300. Junior Hayden Nielsen leads BYU with a .379 average, having tallied 13 of his team-leading 17 RBI from last week’s four games. Nielsen hit the game-winning RBI in the last three Cougar wins.
"He (Nielsen) has been seeing the ball well,” Littlewood said. “We've come to expect two-out RBI and big hits from him and it's good to see it continue."
Mahoney is one of six Cougar pitchers with a win and leads the team averaging 11.2 strikeouts per game.
BYU was picked sixth in the WCC preseason poll, while Pepperdine was voted second in the standings. Only the Pepperdine series will be broadcast live over Radio 960 AM and all three of those games will be televised live by BYUtv.