Baseball to play four games at home this week
PROVO, Utah — After starting the season with 17-straight road games, BYU baseball is at Miller Park this week for four games on March 23, and 25-27. The Cougars will take on rival Utah Valley (2-12, 0-3) in the UCCU Crosstown Clash on Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. MT in the home season opener.
“We are looking forward to finally playing at home after 17 games on the road,” said BYU head baseball coach Littlewood. “I really love this team. They are starting to play the way that we as a coaching staff believed they were capable of playing.”
BYU (6-11, 3-0) will also host WCC foe San Francisco (5-14, 1-2) in a three-game series scheduled for Thursday, Friday, Saturday. The Thursday-Friday games are set for 4:00 p.m. MT, with the Saturday contest set for 1:00 p.m. MT.
Tuesday will mark the 40th game between BYU and UVU and the first of two games on the 2021 schedule. The second game of the UCCU Crosstown Clash is scheduled to be played on May 4 at UVU.
The Cougars are 30-9 all-time and have won the last nine contests over the Wolverines, the longest winning streak in the series’ history. Last season, BYU won 5-4 in Provo in what would be the only home game for the Cougars during the Covid-shortened 2020 season.
UVU enters Tuesday’s contest with a 2-13 overall record and a 0-4 start in Western Athletic Conference play after getting swept by the defending WAC Tournament champion Sacramento State Hornets in the home-opening series at UCCU Ballpark last weekend.
Junior second baseman Mitch Moralez leads the Wolverines with a .323 average. He also has three doubles, seven RBIs, five runs scored. Kade Poulsen is next hitting .289 with two doubles, one triple, one home run, five RBIs and six runs scored. Junior right-hander Jaxson Otis is scheduled to get his first start of the season for the Wolverines on Tuesday. Last season Otis went 1-2 with a 5.03 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 19.2 innings of work.
BYU freshman LHP Boston Mabeus (1-2) will take the hill against UVU in just his second career start as a Cougar. In seven appearances this season, Mabeus has pitched 9.1 innings, giving up just four hits while striking out 18. His last appearance came in game two of the LMU series last week, where he went 1.2 innings and struck out three to get his first career BYU victory.
BYU is 53-8 in home openers since 1960. This will be the sixth time the Cougars have played the Wolverines in their home opener, having also done so in 2020, 2019, 2016, 2008 and 2005. BYU has won seven of its last eight home openers, losing only to UC Santa Barbara in 2017.
Senior outfielder Danny Gelalich leads BYU with a batting average of .333 and a slugging percentage of .500. Senior outfield Mitch MacIntyre leads the Cougars 21 hits, four doubles, two triples and 29 total bases. He is second in average at .318) and slugging a .439.
On the mound, senior Easton Walker leads the Cougars with an era of .070 that is seventh in the NCAA among pitchers with at least four starts and a minimum of 22 innings pitched. As BYU’s No.1 starter, he has appeared in five games and pitched 25.2 inning, giving up just two earned runs while striking out 23.
The Cougars (3-10) have yet to play a home in 2021, having played 17 road games at Texas State (4), No. 10 Texas (4), No. 23 Oregon State (3), Utah (2), Dixie State (1) and LMU (3). BYU was originally slated to play its season home opener versus the Utes on Saturday, March 13, but the game was rescheduled for May 18 due to inclement weather.
Over the past two seasons, BYU has played 32 of its 33 games on the road. It’s the most road games ever played in a space of 33 games in school history.