Ralph R. Zobell | Posted: 10 Apr 2000 | Updated: 10 Apr 2000

Second Half of League Play Starts With UNLV in Provo

Half of the league baseball season is complete, so now BYU plays host to UNLV in a three-game series starting this Thursday.

The Cougars, 22-17 overall and 10-5 in the Mountain West Conference, remain in second place. UNLV, 10-25 and 3-10, just won its first three games in league play with a sweep over San Diego State.

The probable BYU pitching rotation will be Jeff Stone (7-3, 5.29) in Thursday's 2 p.m. game; Micah Mangrum (5-5, 4.24) in Friday's 2 p.m. game; and James Ray (3-2, 4.88) in Saturday's game at noon.

"I've always thought UNLV was a decent team," said BYU Coach Vance Law. "We played them in a couple of games that could have gone either way.

"Our bats are coming around now and our pitching has done a nice job for us, but we need to improve our concentration later in games. With some strong teams now making the trip to our ballpark, we have a chance to improve."

The BYU batting average soared to a season-high .334 following the 20-2 opening victory at New Mexico, but tapered to .331 after losing the next two to the Lobos.

BYU's Matt Carson had a 19-game hitting streak stopped in that final loss at UNM. The current BYU hitting streak leader is Cameron Coughlan at six games, followed by Kainoa Obrey and Shane Belliston each with four-game streaks.

Leading the Cougar batters for the first time this season is All-America candidate Nick Day at .398. Day is second on the team with 45 hits even though he has missed eight games, while Carson leads with 48 hits.

Junior shortstop Seth King and sophomore first baseman Michael Wirrick could be back in the lineup this week following lengthy delays because of wrist injuries.

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