Taking a break from West Coast Conference play, the BYU baseball team is trekking west to Seattle.
The Cougars will take on Washington in a three-game series that could end up being critical to the team’s post-season chances.
Sitting at No. 4 in the NCAA’s RPI, BYU could move up to the low 30’s with a series win at Seattle. The Huskies are currently ranked No. 61 in RPI.
“This is going to be a huge, huge RPI weekend for us,” BYU coach Mike Littlewood said. “What’s interesting about the RPI, last Thursday we were 35. We won our series against Pepperdine and dropped seven points. I can’t figure that thing out.”
Going on a non-conference road trip in the middle of season is unusual but the Cougars, who played their first ten games away from home, have experience with the road.
“One of the nice things about traveling in the season is that we know how to do it,” Littlewood said. “The players know what it’s like so there’s somewhat of a level of comfort.”
BYU plays 11 of its final 15 games on the road this season.
Washington (16-15 overall, 5-10 Pac 12) has hit a rough stretch where it has lost nine league games in a row, getting swept by Stanford, Arizona and Oregon State. The Huskies are 1-1 against WCC teams, losing to Gonzaga 5-4 and defeating Santa Clara 11-1.
“They’ve been playing great competition,” Littlewood said. “We’ve been telling our guys that their record is not indicative of who they are. They’re a very, very athletic team with three starting right-handers that throw in the low 90s. Offensively they are a lot like Oregon (BYU beat the Ducks 7-3 on March 26) but they pitch it a little better.”
Brian Hsu leads the Cougars with a .383 batting average, with Jackson Cluff at .361, Noah Hill at .340 and Brock Hale at .320. As a team, BYU is hitting .292.
On the mound, sophomore Easton Walker is No. 2 in the country in earned run average (0.82) in 44 innings of work. Senior Jordan Wood (4-1 record, 4.53 ERA) will start Game 1 for the Cougars.