Ralph R. Zobell | Posted: 21 Mar 2016 | Updated: 8 Nov 2020

No. 23 Cougars host LMU to break up five-way tie for WCC lead

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PROVO, Utah--A five-way tie for first place in the West Coast Conference baseball standings could narrow when No. 23 BYU hosts Loyola Marymount this weekend.

The three-game series between the Cougars (18-2, 2-1) and the Lions (9-12, 2-1) begins Thursday at 6 p.m. MDT.  Friday's game time has been changed to 3 p.m., followed by Saturday at 1 p.m. MDT.

Thursday and Friday’s games will be televised live by BYUtv, but there will be no video for Saturday due to spring football. All of the games will be broadcast live over ESPN960 AM Radio.

“Records don’t mean a lot,” BYU head coach Mike Littlewood said of Loyola Marymount. “They will really pitch it, but we’re going to put together good at bats. We always seem to play Loyola better than everybody else. It will be a great series where a play here or a play there and execution is probably going to dictate who wins the series.”

Michael Rucker (4-0, 2.67) and Maverik Buffo (4-0, 3.03) will start on the mound for BYU the first two games and Connor Williams (1-0, 3.09) will likely get the nod to start on Saturday.

BYU first appeared in the national rankings last week at No. 29 in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and moved up to No. 27 in that poll. This week the Cougars made their first appearance in the USA Today Coaches poll at No. 24 and their first appearance in Collegiate Baseball magazine at No. 23.

BYU remains No. 1 in the NCAA in scoring (10.2) and runs (253) and No. 3 in batting average (.349). The Cougars are No. 3 in hits (260) and on-base percentage (.431), No. 4 in slugging (.542) and doubles (53) and No. 8 in home runs (25) in week five of the 2016 NCAA rankings. Colton Shaver is ranked No. 3 in doubles (0.60), No. 6 in hits (36), No. 9 in batting average (.462) and No. 12 in slugging (.808). Eric Urry is No. 7 in runs (27).

Last Saturday’s loss to Pacific ended a 12-game winning streak in the midst of a 12-game home stand which concludes with the LMU series.

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