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BYU Baseball to play 3-game series against Kansas Jayhawks

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Can the Cougars build on their best start in team history against Kansas?

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

BYU baseball takes their best start in team history to Lawrence, Kansas for a 3-game series against the Jayhawks. Game 1 of the series is to be played on Thursday, March 3 at 2 PM MST. Game 2 will be on Friday, March 4 at 2 PM MST. Game 3 will be on Saturday at 10 AM MST. The games will be played at Kansas' Hoglund Ballpark. Fans can watch the action as all 3 games will be broadcast on ESPN3.com.

Taking the mound to kick off the series once again is BYU's ace Michael Rucker. Rucker was named WCC Pitcher of the Week for his efforts against Samford. Rucker is 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA while striking out 15 batters in 13 innings of work.

Game 2 will see Maverik Buffo. Buffo has performed very well in his first 2 outings. He has a 1-0 record and a 1.93 ERA.

The pitcher for the series finale has not been named by BYU Baseball head coach Mike Littlewood. The Cougars are looking for a pitcher to solidify the final slots of their starting rotation. Littlewood elected to used Lefty Hayden Rogers in the 3rd game of both series in the young season. Rogers (1-0) has a 2.89 ERA in 9.1 innings of work. Perhaps the worry with Rogers is is opponents batting average against his arm. Opposing bats are hitting .325.

Connor Williams (0-0, 6.75 ERA) has also made two starts this season, but despite the two starts has recorded 4 innings of work.

I would be surprised if Littlewood didn't elect to use Rogers once again. The idea here is that Hayden has been eating innings in his starts. Let him get the team to the 5th or 6th inning and hope that the defensive fielding can turn a couple double plays and help him get outs.

Another way the team can help out the Y pitchers is to put runs on the board. BYU has been excellent at the plate. The Cougars rank 10th in the nation with 102 hits, 12th in stolen bases (17), 21st in runs (70), 22nd in batting average (.339), and 24th in scoring (8.8 runs per game).

Leading the way at the plate and on the base paths is CF Brennon Lund. The leadoff hitter is 2nd in the country with 19 hits, and his 6 stolen bases is 10th best in the NCAA. Lund is 19-for-38 (.500) and has driven in 6 runs and hit 5 doubles.

While Lund is occupying the bags, 2B Brennon Anderson is driving them in with a team-high 12 runs batted in and 2 home runs. Anderson holds a .586 slugging percentage.

Kansas (3-4) has had a difficult schedule to start their 2016 campaign. Dropping a pair of games against the then ranked #5 Oregon State Beavers (OSU is now #4). The Jayhawks have also lost to the University of Utah and Little Rock.

BYU has played Kansas recently in both 2013 and 2014. Over those two series, the Jayhawks won 5 of the 7 games.

BYU's probable starters:

3 game series @ Kansas Name Hand 2016 record 2016 ERA Year
Game 1: Thursday, March 3, 2:00 MST Michael Rucker Right 2-0 1.38 Junior
Game 2: Friday, March 4, 2:00 MST Maverik Buffo Right 1-0 1.93 Sophomore
Game 3: Saturday, March 5, 10:00 MST Hayden Rogers Left 1-0 2.89 Sophomore

Vanquish The Foe's projected starting lineup:

Position Name Year Bats Throws 2016 HR 2016 RBI 2016 Batting Average
Catcher Bronson Larsen Junior Right Right 1 5 .130
1st Base Tanner Chauncey Junior Right Right 0 8 .429
2nd Base Brennon Anderson Sophomore Right Right 2 12 .345
3rd Base Nate Favero Sophomore Left Right 1 3 .458
Shortstop Hayden Nielsen Senior Right Right 0 4 .176
Left Field Eric Urry Senior Left Left 2 8 .233
Center Field Brennon Lund Junior Left Right 0 6 .500
Right Field Kyle Dean Freshman Right Right 1 3 .310
Designated Hitter Colton Shaver Sophomore Right Right 1 8 .412