Ralph R. Zobell | Posted: 11 May 2015 | Updated: 8 Nov 2020

Final week of regular season begins with Utes on Tuesday

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With destiny in its own control, BYU’s baseball team begins the final week of the regular season on Tuesday in a non-league game at rival Utah.

The Cougars (24-22 overall and 13-10 in the West Coast Conference) play Utah (16-29-1) on Tuesday to determine the winner of the annual Deseret First Duel. Then BYU travels to Santa Clara (24-26, 11-13) for a three-game series beginning Thursday.

“This is a big week for us as we enter the last week of conference play, as well as a series deciding game against Utah on Tuesday,” BYU coach Mike Littlewood said.

“We'd love to go up to Salt Lake, pick up a win against the Utes and capture the baseball portion of the Deseret Dual. Every game against Utah brings a different type of excitement and I'm sure this game won't be any different.”

Junior Brady Corless (2-4, 5.18) will be BYU’s starting pitcher against the Utes. Last March, Utah won a rain-shortened six-inning game in Salt Lake City, 9-6. BYU beat the Utes, 7-6, in Provo last month. With this being the rubber match of the rivalry, run differential is not a factor determining the winner of the Deseret Duel. BYU has won six of the past seven years unless the two teams tie in a series favoring BYU, 240-114-2.

Brandon Kinser (6-3, 4.14)  and Kolton Mahoney (4-6, 4.92) take the mound for the Cougars on Thursday and Friday evenings when the Cougars return to WCC action. Saturday afternoon’s starter is TBA for BYU.

“We hold the destiny of our post season in our own hands,” Littlewood said. “Earning a spot into the WCC tournament was one of our main goals as we entered this season so it feels great to still be able to achieve that goal with a week of conference play remaining.”

BYU has tiebreaking scenarios in its favor with all teams in contention for the final four spots of WCC Tournament berths except league-leading San Diego. A sweep at Santa Clara ensures BYU of a berth in that tourney. The Cougars are a game short of a full complement of conference games because of last Saturday’s cancelled game against St. Mary’s due to rain in Provo.

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