After a tough season in 2018, BYU Baseball is trying to turn things around, and so far have done good at that.
Fans of BYU Cougar Baseball saw a 2017 team that won the West Coast Conference Tournament, received an invitation to the National Tournament, and even won a game in the first round. However, 2018 showed a different side of Cougar Baseball. BYU went from first to worst in the WCC and finished with an overall record of 22-28.
This was a disappointing season for BYU Baseball. Head Coach Mike Littlewood has stated that the culture of the team was not where he wanted, and thus they let go about 25-30 percent of their team including many players who still had eligibility.
Now, with some returning stars and some incoming new players, Cougar baseball is ready for a bounce back season, especially in conference. Through eight non-conference games, BYU Baseball is 6-2, currently riding a four-game win streak. During this start, some of their wins include P5 teams including Northwestern (twice) and Ohio State. They begin conference play on March 14th at Gonzaga.
BYU is returning four of their top five hitters this season in Brock Hale (.342) Jarrett Perns (.312, Keaton Kringlen (.305), and Brian Hsu (.287). They lost three of their top four strikeout candidates, and four of the five players who had a slugging percentage over .400. Hale, was named to the All- WCC first team last season, and led the Cougars in nearly every offensive category which can be both good and bad.
Pitching wise, ace Jordan Wood returns for his senior year. Wood led starters with a 2.66 ERA, 14 games started and 92.2 innings pitched. He will also be a candidate to be selected in the MLB Draft this June, meaning eyes will be on him in his outings. They also return Freshman All-American Drew Zimmerman, who led relief pitchers with a 2.40 ERA and 5 saves.
BYU Baseball returns a core of players who have played in the NCAA tournament, won a WCC title, and are hungry to return to the post season. The Cougars first home game will be Tuesday, March 5th, against Utah Valley.