Ralph R. Zobell | Posted: 16 Feb 2016 | Updated: 8 Nov 2020

Season opener in Las Vegas vs. Saint Louis

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Admission is free to all four games

 

Saint Louis University and host BYU open the 2016 baseball season with a four-game series at Las Vegas starting Friday.

Although the Cougars have been picked as high as third and as low as fifth in the West Coast Conference, hopes are high prior to 17 non-conference games scheduled before the league opener in March because there is more depth.

Friday’s season opener between BYU and SLU starts at 1 p.m. PST, with the Cougars as the home team.  Saturday’s doubleheader has the Billikens as the “home” team at noon, with BYU home in the nightcap.  SLU will be the home team in Monday’s noon tilt.

The 2016 season marks the fourth year for BYU coach Mike Littlewood, who has guided the Cougars to WCC tournament berths in his first and third years.

“Saint Louis is going to be a tough test as we open the season,” Littlewood said. “They've won the Atlantic-10 Conference the last four years and are picked to win it again this year. They've won 30 games for three or four years in a row now so they're used to winning and used to being successful. We know they are well coached, have great personnel, and they're going to play hard for nine innings.”

Probable pitchers for BYU in the SLU series are righthanders Michael Rucker (5-1, 3.22 in 2015), a junior; sophomore Maverik Buffo (0-1, 8.77); redshirt sophomore lefty Hayden Rogers (0-1, 9.00); and Connor Williams (0-0, 0.00) for Monday.

“As good as Saint Louis is, we feel like we are as ready to play as we have ever been.  We have great veteran leadership at key positions, and some talented young guys that are bringing a great energy to the park every day.  I think we are all more than ready to play.”

The Cougars have worked out mainly at the Indoor Practice Facility, but have had outdoor scrimmages in St. George and Salt Lake City the past two weekends. An outdoor practice is scheduled for Thursday in St. George en route to the games in Las Vegas.

The four-game series will be hosted by BYU at Cashman Field in Las Vegas, home to the New York Mets’ AAA 51s. Saint Louis University has been picked to finish first by several polls for the Atlantic 10 Conference.  Last season, BYU played Oklahoma in a four-game series at Cashman Field in Las Vegas, instead of at Norman, Okla., due to weather concerns last season.  OU won three of the four games.

Following the series at Las Vegas, BYU baseball returns to Provo, then travels to Birmingham, Alabama, to finish the month in a four-game series against Samford University, Feb. 25-27.

For more detailed information, see multi-page PDF below

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