Our only focus now is to build for the future and get this program headed forward. Utah will always be a big game for us because it's Utah and there is a lot at stake when playing an in-state rival. —BYU coach Mike Littlewood
Finishing strong, winning the Deseret First Duel and honoring seniors are goals for BYU baseball as it ends the home season this week.
On Tuesday, Utah (13-28) comes to Provo for a third meeting against BYU (18-27, 8-13 in West Coast Conference). That game will be televised live by KBYU-TV at 6 p.m., with Cougar lefty Hayden Rogers (2-3, 2.98) starting against Ute right-hander Bret Helton (2-4, 4.60).
The Cougars have won the first two of four games against Utah in the battle for the Deseret First Duel baseball portion. Then, BYU readies for a three-game series against Santa Clara (22-25, 12-9 WCC) in a return to league action.
"We may be mathematically out of the playoff race but we will still compete to the end of the season," BYU coach Mike Littlewood said. "Our only focus now is to build for the future and get this program headed forward. Utah will always be a big game for us because it's Utah and there is a lot at stake when playing an in-state rival."
The Thursday and Saturday games will be televised live by BYUtv, while Friday's game will be streamed live by TheW.tv. There will be a fireworks show after Friday's games. BYU's softball team will be playing at home Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the same time as the Cougar baseball games.
With six league baseball games remaining for BYU, a sweep would put BYU over the .500 mark. The Cougars are hopeful of the return of junior Dillon Robinson who leads the team with a .390 batting average but missed the last two games due to a reinjured ankle.
"As a team we need to get over the disappointment of not making the tournament and focus on beating Santa Clara," Littlewood said. "We are looking forward to honoring our seniors on Saturday before the game. They have had the unusual experience of a coaching change during their college careers and each one of them have handled the transition with class. They made the transition to BYU easy for me and I will always appreciate this senior class for that."
This year's seniors include pitchers Chris Howard, Chunner Nyberg and Desmond Poulson, along with outfielder Kelton Caldwell, designated hitter Bret Lopez and first baseman Brock Whitney.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.