The BYU Cougars baseball team made its first NCAA tournament appearance in 15 years on Thursday afternoon. It wasn’t the return that fans of the Bat Cats were hoping for at Klein Field at Sunken Diamond on the campus of Stanford University.
The Cal State Fullerton Titans, the 3rd place team from the Big West Conference, had a terrific day at the plate and on the mound.
Titans right-handed starter Connor Seabold had a solid start. Seabold held the high-powered BYU offense at bay over 7 innings. The Cougars were able to generate 8 hits off of Seabold scoring two runs. Seabold struck out 8 BYU batters.
In relief, Jack Pabich pitched 1 clean inning, only allowing a single to Y right fielder Brock Hale. Blake Workman made short work of the 9th inning retiring the Cougars in 1, 2, 3 fashion.
The good pitching effort by the Titans wasn’t necessary as the Fullerton bats steamrolled Cougar pitchers.
The Titans put together 22 hits on the Cougars pitching staff. Twenty-two hits represents the highest total for Cal State Fullerton this season — their previous season high was 18. Every Fullerton batter had a hit in the contest. Titans 1st baseman Dillon Persinger led the way going 4-for-5 with 3 runs scored and a RBI. Fullerton right fielder went 3-for-5 with 3-RBIs and a home run to right field.
The Cougars used 6 pitchers to get through 8 innings of play surrendering 13 runs, 3 walks, and 2 strike outs.
BYU’s 2 runs were generated the number 8 and 9 batters in the order. Nate Favero’s double to the right field corner in the top of the 5th innings scored Brock Hale. Colton Shaver hit his 12th home run of the season over the left field wall in the 7th.
Brock Hale had a good day at the plate for BYU. Hale went 3-for-4 to push his batting average on the season to .406.
With the loss, BYU is sent into the elimination bracket. The Cougars must win 4 games in the next 2 days to advance to Super Regionals. The Bat Cats will take on the loser of tonight’s Stanford and Sacramento State game tomorrow at 2 PM MST. The game will be available to watch on WatchESPN.com. The game can also be heard with Brent Norton on the call at espn960sports.com or on 960 AM in Utah County.