After losing their opening game to Cal State Fullerton in the Stanford Regional of the NCAA tournament, the BYU baseball team faced elimination Friday afternoon against the Sacramento State Hornets.
The Cougars played in 4 elimination games during the West Coast Conference tournament and responded well to the occasion winning all four games to take the conference tournament title.
Friday’s NCAA Regional elimination game perhaps proved that the pressure of an elimination game suits the Cougars. BYU is now 5-0 in elimination games after defeating Sacramento State by a score of 6-1.
The Bat Cats responded to the win-or-go-home challenge with solid performances at the plate and a terrific performance on the mound from starting pitcher Hayden Rogers.
Rogers perhaps had a nervous start in the bottom of the 1st. He gave up a lead-off single to Hornets batter Ian Dawkins. Following a ground out that advanced Dawkins to 2nd and a pop fly, Rogers would give up the hardest hit of the day for Sacramento State when James Outman slugged a double to left field, scoring the runner and giving Sac State a 1-0 lead.
In response to the score, Rogers would settle in and strike out the next batter swinging. It was a sign of things to come.
Rogers would go on to strike out 8 batters on the day — and all of his third strikes came on a swing and miss.
Rogers would allow only 1 more base hit, a weak single to left in the top of the 4th. In total, Rogers gave up 1 run on 3 hits and 3 walks with 8 Ks in 6.1 innings of work. An unbelievable winning effort by the junior lefty from Arizona.
To close out the final 2.2 innings, BYU looked to the Cougars all-time leader in saves Mason Marshall. Marshall was effective in his pitching too. He worked his way out of a bases-loaded jam unscathed and held the Hornets scoreless while allowing just 1 hit. He struck out 2 batters.
Senior first baseman Tanner Chauncey led the way at the plate for the Cougars. Chauncey was 3-for-5 with 3 RBIs.
Chauncey was driving in junior Brennon Anderson, who keeps finding his way on base. Anderson has reached base for an incredible 32 consecutive games. Brennon would score 2 runs in the game.
With the victory, the Cougars eliminate Sacramento State and advance to play the loser of this evening’s game between Cal State Fullerton and host Stanford.
BYU will be starting Maverik Buffo for tomorrow’s 2 PM MST start. The game will be available to watch via stream on WatchESPN.com. The game can also be heard with Brent Norton on the call on ESPN 960 AM on the radio or streamed online at espn960sports.com.
Should BYU win during Saturday afternoon’s game, they would advance to play Friday night’s winner between Stanford and Fullerton on Saturday evening.
So, there’s a potential for a doubleheader if BYU wins Saturday afternoon. If BYU baseball win both games tomorrow, they would compete to advance to Super Regionals with a game Monday.