Following Thursday night’s loss to Loyola Marymount to open the West Coast Conference tournament, the mountain BYU baseball had to climb to win the automatic NCAA tournament bid was described by BYU head coach Mike Littlewood as “virtually impossible” on BYU Sports Nation.
The Cougars had to win 4 games in 2 days. They did just that.
Eliminating every single one of their foes in the WCC tournament.
St. Mary’s College first. Next, Loyola Marymount. Finally, Gonzaga.
The Cougars did it with pitching, hitting and fielding.
On Friday, the Cougars started with St. Mary’s.
BYU took on SMC’s pitching like it was a home run derby. Bronson Larsen hit a pair of 2-run home runs in the 2nd and 4th innings. Nate Favero hit a solo shot in the 4th. Brock Hale hit a 2-run smash in the 6th. In the top of the 9th, Tanner Chauncey hit a RBI single that scored Brennon Anderson. 8 runs generated by the BYU offense.
Lefty Hayden Rogers started the game for the Cougars and put on a good performance. Rogers went 6.1 innings giving up 8 hits, 2 walks and 2 runs while striking out 4 batters. Keaton Cenatiempo and Riley Gates would finish the final 2.2 innings to hold the Gaels to just 4 runs.
BYU defeated St. Mary’s, 8-4, sending the Gaels packing to Moraga and advancing to play Loyola Marymount on Friday night.
Against LMU the story was Maverik Buffo. Buffo had not only a bounce back game against the Lions, he simply was dominate. Buffo would take the game into the 6th inning with a No-Hitter. In total, Buffo would terminate Lions batters all night long. Maverik pitched 8.1 innings allowing 7 hits, 2 walks, and 4 runs as he struck out 8 batters.
Riley Gates would finish off LMU in the 9th getting the Cougars last 2 outs to advance the Cougars to the WCC championship round.
The BYU bats jumped on LMU in the 1st generating 3 runs. DC Clawson crushed a solo homer in the 2nd inning. The game winning run was driven in by a Tanner Chauncey single up the middle in the 7th inning that scored Daniel Schneemann.
BYU 5 Loyola Marymount 4.
On Saturday, BYU had to defeat Gonzaga twice in order to win the tournament championship while the Bulldogs needed to win just one game in two games.
In game 1, Jordan Wood was sublime on the mound. Wood dealt 5 K’s with 2 walks and 4 hits for 2 runs over 7 innings. Mason Marshall cleaned up the final 2 innings with a hit, a walk, a run, and a strikeout.
Meanwhile, Tanner Chauncey and Bronson Larsen hit home runs to lead the BYU bats onslaught. Both Daniel Schneemann and Nate Favero went 3-for-4 in the first game.
Cougars would win 10-3 over the Bulldogs to set up a decisive Championship game on Saturday night.
That decisive Championship game? A total and complete blowout by the Cougars. BYU defeated the Bulldogs by a score of 16-3.
Kendall Motes and Bo Burrup gave a solid performance on the mound.
The BYU bats dominated. Bronson Larsen hit ANOTHER home run — his 4th of the tournament and solidifying his winning of tournament MVP.
EVERY PLAYER IN BYU’s BATTING ORDER HAD AT-LEAST 2 HITS AND A RBI!
Brock Hale and Daniel Schneemann had 4 hits. Nate Favero had 3 hits. Everyone else had 2 hits.
The game was blown wide open in the top of the 5th inning when BYU strung together 5 straight hits to start the innings and scored 6 runs.
BYU would never look back, but did not stop the punishment on Gonzaga. The Cougars were getting revenge after the tough weekend in Spokane a week ago.
In the end, 16-3. 4 wins in 2 games. 2017 West Coast Conference Champions!
The Cougars win automatic qualification into the NCAA tournament. Their regional play will begin on Thursday.
Be sure to follow the Bat Cats post-season run on Vanquish The Foe!