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BYU baseball: Nebraska has a four-game series with BYU in Arizona

Nebraska is no longer ranked but will provide stiff competition this week for BYU baseball when the two teams compete in Arizona.

The Cornhuskers (1-2) lost two of three games and their No. 23 ranking last week at UNLV, while BYU (0-4) is looking for its first win. The Cougars and Nebraska play a four-game series starting Thursday at the Peoria Sports Complex, site of the Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres spring training camp.

“We knew how tough these first two weeks would be,” BYU coach Mike Littlewood said. “Our goal is to get better and at Santa Barbara we played well and got better in those four days. Similarly, we want to compete and get better this week and the games with Nebraska will enable us to do this.”

Kolton Mahoney (0-1, 5.40) will start Thursday’s game at 1 p.m. MDT, Jeff Barker (0-1, 3.60) will start the first game of a doubleheader on Friday at noon, followed by Brandon Kinser (0-0, 0.00), and Brady Corless (0-1, 5.40) will start Saturday’s game at noon.

“We have moved Kinser into our starting rotation because Hayden (Rogers) needs to work on some things,” Littlewood said. “We don’t know if this is a temporary move, but it will give us a left-hander coming out of the pen that can go hard for a couple of innings.

“Buffo (Maverik) was a nice surprise for us with his mound presence and we feel comfortable with him coming out of the pen.”

Kinser, Buffo and Gonzaga transfer Michael Rucker each have earned run averages of 0.00 in a combined nine innings on the mound this season. Kinser will be making his second start as a Cougar, having been pressed into a starting role last year at Dallas Baptist at the last minute due to a pregame injury to Hayden Rogers. Kinser, a senior, has made 32 appearances as a Cougar reliever.

Center fielder Brennon Lund has a current five-game hitting streak and leads the Cougars with a .410 batting average.

The Nebraska-BYU games can be listened to and followed through live links on BYU's athletic website. Last year, BYU lost its four-game series at this same Peoria Sports Complex to Kansas.

Following the Nebraska games, the Cougars travel to play a four-game series at Oklahoma next week before the home opener against Hartford in March.

Ralph R. Zobell has worked for BYU Athletic Media Relations in various capacities for over 30 years. You can view his bio at byucougars.com/staff/athletics/ralph-zobell or contact him at ralph_zobell@byu.edu.