Tuesday's Deseret Duel at Utah begins a week of showdowns for BYU baseball. (Photo by BYU Photo)
A pair of showdowns are on BYU's baseball schedule this week, starting with rival Utah on Tuesday and ending with a three-game weekend series at league-leading No. 19 San Diego.
The second of three games against Utah this season is Tuesday night at 6 p.m. MDT, and is televised live by the Pac-12 Network. Sophomore Jordan Wood (2-0, 5.29) will start on the mound for BYU as it seeks to improve its overall record of 20-13 against Utah (14-17).
"What they (Tuesday games) do is keep our bullpen sharp," BYU coach Mike Littlewood said. "It’s giving Jordan Wood some crucial experience if he needs to move into the rotation next year. We’re going to be looking for someone to take Brady’s (Corless) spot and if Maverik (Buffo) gets drafted we’ll have to fill at least one and maybe two spots. It also gives us live at-bats and you can’t simulate that."
The Deseret First Duel Trophy in Tuesday's game could extend to a rubber match if Utah wins, with BYU beating the Utes last month in Salt Lake City. The third game of the Cougar-Ute Deseret Duel is May 9 in Provo.
The second place Cougars take a 9-3 West Coast Conference record to San Diego (25-9 overall and 12-3 WCC). BYU has never beaten the Toreros in San Diego.
The Cougars' pitching rotation at San Diego will be the same in recent weeks with Maverik Buffo (4-4, 5.40), Brady Corless (5-0, 3.29) and Hayden Rogers (4-1, 2.36). A win by Corless would make him one of a dozen pitchers in school history to earn a 6-0 start.
"They’re all big weeks to us," Littlewood said. "Utah’s always a big game. I’m already thinking about how we’re going to approach that. Ultimately, when you get going and the juices start flowing, you want to win that ball game. We’ll take Utah first and then worry about San Diego, who's a good team that plays well at home."
Cougar tri-captain Tanner Chauncey takes a 12-game hitting streak into this week's action.
After the San Diego trip the Cougars return to host a three-game series against San Francisco.
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