Austin Hall clocked a 97 mile-per-hour fast ball as he took the mound in the ninth inning of a 17-1 loss to Gonzaga. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah—After giving up 10 runs in the third inning, BYU baseball couldn’t recover and suffered a 17-1 season-ending loss to Gonzaga Saturday at Larry H. Miller Field.
“Today was not the kind of day we wanted to go out for our seniors,” head coach Vance Law said. “We wanted to have good days and go out with a win. Unfortunately this wasn’t a good indication of the young men and players we have on this team. This season was one of those strange years where if something could go wrong it did.”
BYU went through seven pitchers during the game, with Tyler Westensee picking up the loss.
The loss put BYU’s final season record at 22-27 and 10-14 in West Coast Conference play. Gonzaga increased its record to 34-22 and 14-10.
Gonzaga scored first when Westensee walked Alex Stanford with three runners already on base at the top of the third. Westensee also walked the next batter, sending Steven Halcomb home to put the Bulldogs ahead 2-0. With no outs, Marco Gonzales doubled to center field and advanced to third on an error, allowing Hunter, Stanford and Royce Bolinger to score. Billy Moon batted in Gonzales for the sixth Gonzaga run of the inning before Moon and Maxx Garrett scored on a Halcomb single.
Still in the third, Bolinger doubled between the center and right fielders and Halcomb (who went 5 for 6 on the day) and Clayton Eslick ran home to put Gonzaga ahead 10-0. Cougar third baseman Austin Hall picked up a grounder and threw to first to get Hunter out, ending the inning. The Cougars couldn’t score in the bottom of the inning.
The Cougars kicked into gear in the fourth inning, retiring Gonzaga in order.
BYU stranded Bulldogs on second and third in the first, with Westensee throwing a fast ball past Andy Hunter for a strikeout and the third out of the inning. The second inning also went scoreless despite Gonzaga having a runner in scoring position when Alex Bonczyk grounded out to third.
Bolinger recorded another RBI, batting in Bonczyk in the fifth. Eslick scored Gonzaga’s 12th run on a sacrifice fly to right field.
A two-run homer opened the top of the sixth for Gonzaga, with Moon batting in Gonzales. The two runs put Gonzaga ahead 14-0. In the seventh, Cougar shortstop Tanner Chauncey, second baseman Law and first baseman Chase Frampton pulled off a double play at second and first, but not before Bulldog Payden Cawley Lamb ran home. Another play at first retired Gonzaga with a score of 15-0.
Hall scored on Christian Mua’s bloop single to shallow right field for BYU’s first run of the game. Mua was left on base at the end of the seventh.
Halcomb doubled to center, just out of reach of center fielder Stephen Wells, for another RBI in the eighth. The ninth inning saw one Gonzaga run, batted in by Brock Slavin.
Hall, who has played every position except catcher during his career at BYU, came in as pitcher in the ninth, hoping to catch the eye of Major League scouts, clocking a 97 mile-per-hour fast ball during the inning. Saturday’s performance was his second appearance as pitcher.
The loss was head coach Law’s final game at the helm of the Cougar baseball, posting a 397-348-2 (. 533) record in 13 seasons. To honor his contribution to the team, the athletes wore wristbands with a ‘2’, Law’s jersey number, written on them.
BYU loses six seniors to graduation this season. Frampton, Wes Guenther, Hall, David Parry, Wells and Alex Wolfe completed their careers with the loss to Gonzaga.