Just before Matt Favero pulled the trigger on his college commitment Wednesday afternoon, the Madison rising senior pitcher had to make one call.

On the other end was Pete Nielsen, his cousin and fellow Warhawks rising senior. The two had played baseball together their whole life, and with Nielsen having narrowed his own recruitment to Brigham Young and Virginia, Favero thought his close relative would be interested to hear his college choice.

“I called him and said, ‘Hey Pete, I’m about to commit to BYU,'” Favero said. “I think maybe he was waiting for me to do it; I don’t know.”

In some ways, Favero was right. Even after watching Virginia hoist its first College World Series, Nielsen still felt a stronger tug on his heartstrings from BYU, the same school for which his father, Mike, once suited up and where both his and Favero’s older brothers currently play.

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“When Matt told me he was committing to BYU, I was like, ‘Sweet,'” Nielsen said. “I was sure that’s where I wanted to go at that point, so after talking to my dad, I decided why not go ahead and commit too?”

Their announcements via Twitter came within four hours of each other Wednesday night, delivering two of the area’s top prospects from the defending Virginia 6A state champions.

The news extends what’s been a whirlwind few months for Favero. The second-team All-Met pitcher threw six scoreless innings and hit a three-run home run to lead Madison to the 6A North region title before recording the walk-off RBI that lifted the Warhawks to their first state crown since 2002. Favero, a lefty, finished his junior season with a 10-0 record, 0.82 ERA and 81 strikeouts on the mound and a .340 average, 26 RBI and two home runs at the plate.

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After telling college coaches that he would make his decision by the second week of July, Favero elected to join the Cougars over his other two finalists, Liberty and George Washington.

“There was really no bad school on my list. It just came down to what felt right and where was the right place for me,” Favero said. “My family has a long history with BYU, and I’ve gotten to know the coaches well over the years”

The same goes for Nielsen, who also earned second-team All-Met honors after batting. 410 with 11 doubles, 26 RBIs and two home runs while earning the win in relief during the 6A state title game. Though his fluid play in the infield and at the plate garnered interest from a number of major collegiate teams, the 6-foot-2 switch-hitter said BYU is the school he “grew up rooting for and where [he] felt most comfortable.”

“It was cool to watch Virginia win it all and I was really happy for them. I even got a bunch of texts saying I’d look really good on top of a dogpile [celebration] like that,” Nielsen said. “But I knew U-Va. was capable of that the whole time because they’re a power program. I want to help BYU to be one of those schools and win championships.”

Come 2017, he and Favero will have a chance to do just that alongside their brothers, Michael Nielsen and Nate Favero, who will rejoin the Cougars baseball team next spring after finishing up their two-year missions service per Mormon protocols.

“When I committed, one of the coaches said it’ll be like a family reunion every game now,” Favero said. “It’s a pretty cool situation and feeling.”

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