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BYU baseball looks to avoid elimination against Pepperdine in West Coast Conference tournament

The Cougars and Waves will be playing for their season survival Friday afternoon.

Keith Shirts/Vanquish The Foe

Both BYU and Pepperdine lost on Thursday in their opening games in the West Coast Conference baseball tournament.

BYU lost 5-3 to Gonzaga. The Cougars struggled all night against Gonzaga's pitching as BYU struck out 17 times.

Pepperdine lost in particularly heartbreaking fashion. The Waves were in control leading 5-0 heading into the bottom of the 8th. St. Mary's responded with a 5 run 8th to force extra innings. In extra innings, Pepperdine would score 2 runs in the top of the 10th, before giving up a 2-run HR in the bottom of the 10th. In the 11th inning, St. Mary's would finish off the Waves with a walk off victory.

BYU faces a tough road now to automatic qualifying for the NCAA tournament. They must win 2 games on both Friday AND Saturday to win the WCC tournament. A difficult task on its own merit. Compounding matters is the lack of starting pitching depth the Y faces due to injuries. However, there are several capable arms in the bullpen. Mike Littlewood's club is going to need every single one of them if they are to find a way to win the tournament.

Outside of the importance of the WCC tournament, the Cougars could certainly use a win to improve their At-Large resume for the NCAA tournament. BYU is precariously on the bubble for tournament selection currently. A 0-2 performance in their conference tournament may be all the selection committee needs to leave the Cougars out of a NCAA Regional.

Pepperdine won the series against BYU earlier this season in Malibu. Pepperdine took 2 out of the 3 contests.

Friday afternoons meeting between BYU and Pepperdine will be unlike anything either team has seen this season as both teams are expected to be starting a pitcher that has only come out of the bullpen all season long.

It'll be dinnertime at 1:00 PM MST as Keaton Cenatiempo has been BYU's go to man in the bullpen. He has repeatedly come up big in all scenarios thrown at him -- long relief, closing, specialist. He's been BYU's 2nd most reliable pitcher behind Michael Rucker this season. Cenatiempo will be making his first start of the season.

Pepperdine will look to their un-hit-able closer Ryan Wilson to extend their baseball season tomorrow. It will also be Mark Wilson's first start of the season.

Starting Pitchers:

BYU right handed pitcher Keaton Cenatiempo (3-1, 2.66 ERA)

Keaton Cenatiempo http://byucougars.com/athlete/m-baseball/keaton-cenatiempo

vs.

Pepperdine left handed pitcher Ryan Wilson (1-0, 0.53 ERA)

Ryan Wilson http://www.pepperdinesports.com/sports/m-basebl/mtt/ryan_wilson_937663.html

Projected Starting Lineups:

BYU

Position Name Year Bats Throws Home Runs Runs Batted In Batting Average
Catcher Bronson Larsen Junior Right Right 8 44 .293
1st Base Tanner Chauncey Junior Right Right 1 27 .347
2nd Base Brennon Anderson Sophomore Right Right 6 45 .338
3rd Base Daniel Schneemann Freshman Left Right 0 10 .327
Shortstop Hayden Nielsen Senior Right Right 2 45 .292
Left Field Eric Urry Senior Left Left 8 53 .308
Center Field Brennon Lund Junior Left Right 2 34 .400
Right Field Keaton Kringlen Freshman Right Right 5 34 .368
Designated Hitter Colton Shaver Sophomore Right Right 10 57 .346

Pepperdine

Position Name Year Bats Throws Home Runs Runs Batted In Batting Average
Catcher Aaron Barnett Junior Left Right 3 20 .282
1st Base Brad Anderson Senior Right Right 9 36 .278
2nd Base Chase Lambert Sophomore Right Right 1 20 .273
3rd Base Chris Fornaci Senior Right Right 5 29 .193
Shortstop Manny Jefferson Junior Right Right 11 35 .278
Left Field Matthew Kanfer Freshman Right Right 2 26 .302
Center Field Matt Gelalich Junior Left Right 2 13 .286
Right Field Brandon Caruso Junior Right Right 1 17 .243
Designated Hitter Ben Rodriguez Sophomore Right Right 9 29 .283

Broadcast details:

BYU will face Pepperdine at 1:00 PM MST at Banner Island Ballpark in Stockton, California in an elimination game. Fans can watch BYU play Pepperdine on TheW.tv and hear the action called by Brent Norton on ESPN 960 AM and BYU Radio -- Sirius XM 143.