PROVO, Utah – BYU Baseball opened their 2017 season last weekend at the Atlanta Challenge. They fell to #21 Georgia Tech 5-3 last Friday in the opener. The next day they bounced back, beating Kennesaw State 13-4. They finished up the three game trip with a controversial 3-2 loss in 10 innings to Georgia State.
They will now prepare for a trip to California to take on San Jose State and Northern Colorado. The West Coast Conference Preseason Coaches poll picked the Bat Cats to finish 5th in the conference this season.
After a record setting 18-1 start to the 2016 season, the Cougars carried that momentum to a 37-17 record and a share of the WCC regular season conference title for the first time. A poor performance in the conference tournament, however, led to an early exit for the Cougars, as they missed the NCAA Tournament for the 16th straight season.
Baseball Head Coach Mike Littlewood, however, said he’s confident that this team will end that drought.
“One of our big goals is to win the league, win the West Coast Conference, and by doing so we’ll make it to a regional… Ultimately our goal is to make it to a regional and then see what happens from there. We’ve got a pretty veteran team, a team that isn’t afraid to go compete, and so it’s a lofty goal, but I think it’s a goal that we can achieve this year.” said Coach Littlewood.
Strong offense carried the Cougars last season, as they were 2nd in the nation in batting average, hitting .325. They also were 6th in runs, averaging 8.1 per game. The Cougars finished the year with 10 players hitting over .300. If the Bat Cats are planning on making the NCAA tournament this season the will likely need to repeat this offensive barrage.
This season, the Cougars will be led by Junior slugger Colton Shaver, WCC Freshman of the Year Keaton Kringlen, and ace pitcher Maverik Buffo.
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