First Games in Miller Park vs. UNM
Name the university whose baseball and softball programs have never lost a game in its home facility?
It's BYU, because neither team has played a game in the new Miller Park until this week. The Cougar baseball team begins play at the new Larry H. Miller Field on Thursday, while the BYU softball team has its first game at Gail Miller Field, the nation's fourth-largest college stadium (2,100 seats), on Friday.
Fittingly, BYU's baseball team opens its first-class 2,300-seat facility in first place in the Mountain West Conference and on a six-game winning streak. The Cougar baseball team is tied with San Diego State both at 10 5 in the league and with overall records of 21-14.
New Mexico, the team that helped BYU break ground last year for Miller Park, is the first opponent for baseball at Larry H. Miller Field. The Lobos, 18-23 overall, are in third place in the MWC at 8-7.
Game time on Thursday for free T-shirt night (first 500 fans) is 6 p.m., the only night game in Provo since a 1977 doubleheader at Timpanogos Park. Scheduled to be on the mound that night for BYU is senior Nate Fernley, the winningest pitcher in the NCAA this season at 10-1 and an earned run average of 2.79.
On Friday there is free admission through Hogi Yogi to both the softball doubleheader vs. Southern Utah at 1:30 p.m. and the BYU-UNM baseball game which has been moved up to 5 p.m. The probable pitcher against the Lobos on Friday is freshman Jeff Stearman (1-4, 5.46).
Kids (14 & under) get in free to Saturday's baseball game which starts at 1 p.m. Scheduled to start on the hill is lefty Jeff Stone (2-3, 6.90) who is seeking his 24th career victory for the Cougars. Thursday and Friday's baseball games are joined in progress on KSRR Radio (1400 AM) following the Utah Jazz games, while Saturday's baseball game is broadcast live.
Many of Stone's victories have come at BYU which still plays on the same field as the new Larry H. Miller Field. But the chair seating, press box, lockerrooms, lights, and dugouts are new. BYU posted a 503-123-2 (.803) record on this field since it was opened in 1969.
The field has been host to a number of landmark baseball games, including Peter Kendrick's two-no hitters and 16-inning back-to-back victories over his native Hawai'i in the early 1980's, several Cougars belting four homers in a game, BYU's ascension to number one in 1983 after it beat top-ranked SDSU, and beating Gonzaga in a best of three series in 1971 to advance to the College World Series.
This week's games are the first official games at Miller Park, however, the grand opening ceremonies are scheduled for Saturday, April 21 for both softball and baseball. The BYU baseball team has a 2-3 record at home this season, but all of those games were played last month at UVSC's field in Orem due to construction.
After the BYU-UNM series, the baseball Cougars continue their consecutive 11-game homestand at Miller Park by hosting Southern Utah on Monday and Tuesday, followed by Utah in a three-game series.
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