Ralph R. Zobell | Posted: 9 May 2016 | Updated: 8 Nov 2020

Unranked Cougars prepare for San Francisco series

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PROVO, Utah (May 9, 2016)—With the nation’s winningest pitcher on the mound, BYU baseball is undefeated.  Without him, the Cougars are 21-13.

While Michael Rucker (10-0, 2.58) is not scheduled to pitch until Thursday when BYU opens a three-game series at San Francisco, the Cougars play a make-up game on Tuesday at Utah Valley University. Game time is 6 p.m. MDT.

Sophomore lefthander Hayden Rogers (4-3, 3.51) is scheduled to start for BYU as it seeks to improve its 31-13 overall record.  For the first time in eight weeks, the Cougars are not ranked in a national poll.

“We have to come and play every single day,” BYU coach Mike Littlewood said. “We need to finish the most important 10 percent of the games we play.

“Utah Valley is scrappy, they have confidence and they are playing really well. It’s a game we need to win just like Utah—it’s a must win."

The Wolverines won last week’s game, 7-6 in 11 innings at BYU.

After the UVU game, the Cougars look to improve their 13-8 record in the West Coast Conference at San Francisco en route to a possible berth in the four-team WCC tourney.

“Mentally, we should be at peak performance—holding the conference bid in the palm of our hand,” Littlewood said.  “We have given ourselves a chance to control our own destiny, we don’t have to scoreboard watch. We have to keep plugging away, its imperative we get one.  The goal is to win the series.  If we sweep the series, I think that gets us in the tournament.”

Rucker will start for the Cougars at USF on Thursday at 3 p.m. PDT.  Sophomore lefty Riley Gates (2-1, 4.50) will start for BYU on Friday at 3 p.m., and Rogers is the likely starter for Saturday’s game at 1 p.m.

Tuesday’s game was postponed from two weeks ago at Utah Valley. The BYU-UVU game will be broadcast live on the Internet by BYU Radio and Sirius Satellite 143. The USF series will also be carried on BYU Radio through broadcasts from ESPNSports 960 AM.

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