Nate Favero knocked a two-run homer in the second inning for a 3-0 lead in a game won by Gonzaga, 10-4, on Friday in Spokane. (Photo by BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)
SPOKANE, Washington—A 10-4 come-from-behind victory by Gonzaga over BYU Friday night forced a showdown Saturday on national TV for the No. 1 seed of the league tournament next week.
While the No. 18 Cougars, 33-17 overall, have a share of the West Coast Conference title with a 20-6 record, they still can win it outright with a win in front of an ESPNU TV audience on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. PDT.
But first, BYU must solve its own woes, which continued Friday in Spokane.
“One nightmare inning cost us big tonight,” BYU coach Mike Littlewood said. “It's very simple, we need to pitch it better if we want to beat this team tomorrow”.
On the heels of a 10-2 game one loss, the Cougars got off to a better start in game two before a disastrous eight-run fifth inning.
Bronson Larsen’s sacrifice fly scored Keaton Kringlen for BYU’s first run of the game in the second inning. Then Nate Favero knocked a two-run homer to right field after Larsen’s out for a 3-0 lead.
That lead expanded to 4-0 when Brennon Anderson got a leadoff double to left field in the fourth inning and scored two batters later on Kringlen’s single to right field.
Left fielder Larsen and shortstop Daniel Schneemann combined to throw out a Zag runner at home in the one-run fourth inning to protect a 4-2 lead.
Larsen moved behind the plate in the fifth and was on the receiving end of a Kringlen throw from left field to Schneemann for out number two in the eight-run fifth, but by then the damage accrued.
Starter Brady Corless struck out the final batters of the second and third innings and fanned his third victim in the fourth, but surrendered a pair of walks to lead off the fifth. The parade of walks continued with three more bases on balls and a hit batter from the two Cougar relievers spelling Corless in that frame when the Zags batted around.
Gonzaga, 30-17 overall and 19-7 in the WCC, can tie BYU for the title with a sweep over the Cougars.