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UConn Baseball Weekend Preview: BYU

BYU has a great offense, can UConn keep it quiet?

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

UConn Baseball (8-6) suffered a set-back at Santa Clara on Tuesday after the squad took two in its weekend series with UC Davis last weekend.

The Huskies have a hot bat in Isaac Feldstein, who has a six-game hitting streak, going 8-for-25 over the streak with three doubles and a home run. He has recorded a hit in 12 of UConn’s first 14 games and reached base safely in all but one of their contests.

The Huskies have now lost two straight and look to get back to winning ways with a three-game series against BYU (7-8) with an amazing setting for the weekend.

The Cougars won three of four against UC Santa Barbara last weekend, but took a loss to New Mexico State in their midweek game, also a first for the team.

On Thursday, the Huskies can expect to face Maverik Buffo (1-3, 5.06 ERA). He has made four starts for the Cougars and aside from giving them six shutout innings against Northern Colorado, he allowed four earned runs in each of his remaining three.

He is also prone to allowing contact. Even in that strong performance against Northern Colorado, he allowed nine hits and has allowed opposing hitters to hit .363 against him in 2017.

Brady Corless (2-0, 3.33) will get the ball on Friday. He has a much better BAA than Buffo (.298), but it still is not a great number and is a weakness UConn can try to exploit.

He also has exceptional control. Through his first three starts, he walked just three batters in 16 innings of work. He did walk four in his last start of 5 1/3 innings, however.

The final game of the series will see Hayden Rogers (1-0, 1.89) on the hill for BYU. He has made four appearances this year, but two have come out of the bullpen. One of those bullpen appearances was to relieve Connor Williams, who failed to get an out to begin a game with Northern Colorado and another was 2 1/3 innings of middle relief.

He can give the Cougars length in the final game of the series, as he pitched 7 2/3 innings against UC Santa Barbara in his last appearance. His BAA is also high, at .293, but it hasn’t hurt him so far this year.

Just as the Cougars’ pitching staff is prone to giving up hits, with a team BAA of .299, the offense is always ready to put up runs. They have already put up 10 runs five times this year on the back of some very good hitters.

Brock Hale (.433 BA/.514 OBP/.683 SLG) has registered a hit in every game so far this year and leads the Cougars in runs (18), hits (26), total bases (41) and stolen bases (4). BYU also has seven regulars who have a batting average above .290.

The Cougar offense is 26th nationally in batting average (.315), 29th in slugging percentage (.477) and 34th in home runs (16).

The Huskies and Cougars will get started at 8 p.m. Eastern on Thursday and Friday, followed by a 2 p.m. Eastern first pitch on Saturday.