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BYU baseball: Cougars play four California games in as many days

By Ralph R. Zobell

For the Deseret News

Published: Monday, March 17 2014 5:14 p.m. MDT

BYU and San Francisco’s baseball teams are hoping to break into the winning column, but each has a non-league game before their three-game series starts Thursday.

The Cougars (7-14) and USF (8-9) are 0-3 after the first week of play in the West Coast Conference. Fresno State brings a 13-7 record into this week, hosting California before its game with BYU on Wednesday evening.

“As we move into our second week of conference play I just want our guys to take the field with the same confidence and passion we had against Utah and Seattle,” BYU coach Mike Littlewood said. “San Francisco is a quality team that we will have to beat in order to challenge for one of the four conference tournament spots.”

Michael Springer (0-1, 13.97 earned run average) will be BYU’s starting pitcher Wednesday night at Fresno State. Teammates Desmond Poulson (3-2, 3.71), Jeff Barker (1-3, 4.86) and Kolton Mahoney (2-3, 4.75) start in that order at San Francisco.

BYU ran into a buzz saw last weekend hosting defending champion San Diego which vaulted back into the nation’s top 25 rankings at No. 17 (Collegiate Baseball), No. 24 (Baseball America) and No. 25 (Perfect Game).

Injured Cougars Hayden Rogers and Dillon Robinson will be making this California trip after being sidelined with a concussion and ankle injuries, respectively, in Texas and Louisiana. Rogers passed concussion protocol and has been cleared to pitch, while Robinson could appear in a designated hitter or pinch-hit role, according to Littlewood.

At San Francisco, BYU will be part of the 9th Annual Dante Benedetti Classic on Saturday when the two teams precede a high school game at AT&T Ballpark, home of the MLB Giants. This will be BYU’s first game at a Major League ballpark since playing before crowds of 11,699 vs. Notre Dame and 2,804 vs. Washington in 1994 games at the Seattle Kingdome.

KOVO Radio 960 AM will broadcast BYU’s games on Thursday and Friday at 3 p.m. PDT, as well as Saturday’s game at noon.

Ralph R. Zobell has worked for BYU Athletic Media Relations in various capacities for over 30 years. You can view his bio at http://byucougars.com/staff/athletics/ralph-zobell or contact him at ralph_zobell@byu.edu.

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