Jordan Christiansen | Posted: 12 Feb 2020 | Updated: 28 Dec 2020

Season Set to Begin in Arizona Friday

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PROVO, Utah – BYU baseball will begin its 2020 season at the Sanderson Ford College Baseball Classic this week in Surprise, Arizona.

The Cougars will play four games in four days, starting with a contest on Friday, Feb. 14, at 5 p.m. MT against West Coast Conference rival Gonzaga in a non-conference affair. The Bulldogs were BYU’s final opponent last season, with the Zags winning 3-1 in the WCC Tournament. The two teams have split their last 10 games in a back-and-forth rivalry of two of the conference’s top teams.

On Saturday, Feb. 15, BYU will play two games against New Mexico with game one starting at 10 a.m. MT and game two at 3 p.m. MT. A former Western Athletic Conference and Mountain West Conference foe, New Mexico faced BYU every year but one from 1987 to 2011 until the Cougars joined the WCC. These will be the first games between the two schools since that time. The Lobos have won seven of the last 10 in the series.

Finally, the Cougars will go up against No. 25 Oregon State on Monday, Feb. 17, at 2 p.m. MT. Ranked in the USA Today Coaches Poll after reaching the NCAA Tournament last season, the Beavers are on an eight-game winning streak against BYU dating back to the Cougars’ last victory in 1991. This is the first meeting between the two teams since 2009.

Games one, two and four will stream live on FloSports (subscription required) and over the air on the BYU Cougars app and ESPN 960. Game three will stream for free on BYU baseball's Facebook page and the BYU Cougars app. See the BYU baseball schedule page for complete details and links.

BYU is led by head coach Mike Littlewood, the 2019 WCC Coach of the Year who is now in his eighth season with a record of 215-160 (.573). Littlewood led BYU to a 36-17 record last season and the Cougars' third WCC title in the last four seasons.

The Cougars return a core of a pitching staff and have added talented newcomers to a group that finished 22nd in the nation last year with a 3.65 ERA, the program's lowest mark since 1982. Starting game one for BYU will be junior right hander Justin Sterner (8-4 record, 2.95 ERA in 2019) with game two going to freshman left hander Cy Nielson out of Spanish Fork, Utah. Junior right hander Easton Walker (8-3, 2.59) will start game three and senior right hander Jarod Lessar (3-2, 4.44) will start game four.

In the field, All-WCC junior Mitch McIntyre returns to the outfield after hitting .291 with 14 doubles, seven home runs and 30 walks in 2019. Fellow junior outfielder Danny Gelalich returns after batting .328 last year. In the infield, senior Abraham Valdez is set to start at catcher while a combination of underclassmen will play around the bases.

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