PROVO, Utah (April 11, 2016)--Conference co-frontrunners collide Tuesday when No. 16 BYU baseball of the West Coast Conference hosts a rematch against Utah of the Pac-12 Conference.
The Cougars, 25-5, and Utes, 11-17, meet in the second of three contests this season at 6 p.m. in Provo, but this time both are tied for first place in their respective conferences at 9-3 and 8-4.
Following the Utah game, BYU returns to WCC action in a three-game series at Saint Mary’s later in the week.
BYU is tied with Gonzaga, with Saint Mary’s a half-game behind, and Utah is tied with Cal.
“Utah has a good team,” BYU coach Mike Littlewood said. “To me they are always dangerous, there has been a ton of close games, and it’s a crazy series. We are a little dinged up right now.”
The Cougars remain ranked No. 16 for the second week in a row in the Perfect Game poll, but dropped a couple spots in the USA Today/Baseball Coaches poll to No. 22. BYU moved up to No. 21 in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers poll and dropped to No. 26 in Collegiate Baseball.
Getting the starting pitching nod for the Utah game is Cougar lefty Hayden Rogers (3-0, 3.86). The regular rotation will be intact for the Saint Mary’s series leading off with Michael Rucker (7-0, 2.21) and Maverik Buffo (6-1, 3.27) in Thursday and Friday’s games at 3 p.m. PDT, and Connor Williams (1-1, 3.74) in Saturday’s game at 1 p.m.
The Utah game will be televised live by BYUtv. ESPN Radio 960 AM will broadcast all of BYU’s games this week as will BYU Radio—Sirius Satellite 143, and TheW.tv will stream all of the games at Saint Mary’s.
BYU is ranked No. 1 in scoring (9.1) and doubles per game (2.70) in the latest NCAA rankings. The Cougars are No. 3 in batting average at.336 and slugging (.517), No. 4 in doubles and No. 6 in runs. Individually, Rucker is tied for No. 1 in the nation with a 7-0 record, Brennon Lund is No. 7 in doubles and No. 9 in hits, while Colton Shaver is No. 15 in slugging.
The Cougars have a leg up in the Deseret First Duel, having defeated Utah 6-0 last month.