For baseball fans, these are difficult times. Major League Baseball announced on Tuesday that MLB’s Opening Day, originally set for March 31, would be postponed due to an ongoing lockout.
To those Cougar fans who love baseball, take heart. BYU’s own baseball team may be able to help fill the void left by the lack of major league action. After starting the 2022 season 0-2, the “Bat Cats” have gone on a red-hot tear.
After beating Marshall to split the doubleheader in Port Charlotte, Florida on February 19, they have faced off against Ohio State and Arizona State, playing four straight games against Power 5 teams.
The Cougars have won all four, with most in convincing fashion.
After defeating the Buckeyes 9-6 in their final game of the Snowbird Classic in Florida, they traveled to Arizona to take on the Arizona State Sun Devils. In three games on ASU’s own turf, the Cougars swept them handily. After a 4-2 victory in Game 1, the Cougars fell behind 4-2 heading into the ninth inning in Game 2. Then a rally ensued, sparked by a bases loaded, three-run triple by Cougars shortstop Brock Watkins, giving the Cougars a 5-4 lead. BYU then added on another run, giving themselves a two-run cushion for the bottom of the ninth. ASU got a run back but BYU sealed their comeback with a dramatic 6-5 victory.
They capped off the sweep at Phoenix Municipal Stadium with a whopping 19-3 victory. The Cougars outscored the Sun Devils 29-10 in the three-game sweep.
Mind you, this is an ASU program that is regularly in contention for the College World Series, having made the NCAA Tournament eight times since 2010 with five national titles in program history.
BYU is looking for their first NCAA Tournament bid since 2017. There is still a long way to go, as BYU is yet to begin WCC play, which starts against Portland on March 17. Gonzaga is the preseason favorite to win the conference.
Head coach Mike Littlewood’s squad faces off against UW-Milwaukee, Utah and future Big 12 foe Oklahoma State before then, including four more games against Power 5 programs. There are plenty more chances for BYU to make some noise ahead of conference play.
BYU’s first home game at Larry H. Miller Field is this Thursday, March 3 against UW-Milwaukee at 3pm MT.
The Cougars are 5-2 overall, having won five straight. They have plenty of fun players to watch such as outfielder Cole Gambill, who was just named WCC Player of the Week for his efforts against ASU.
He is currently batting .310 with two home runs and a stolen base. He drove in six runs in one game in BYU’s blowout 19-run affair.
Pitcher Reid McLaughlin is the current NCAA Division 1 leader in saves, with four. He is yet to allow a run in four innings.
Larry H. Miller Field offers one of the most stunning backdrops in all of college baseball and, it appears, has a team on the rise.