MWC Title Secures NCAA Regional Berth | The Official Site of BYU Athletics

MWC Title Secures NCAA Regional Berth

SAN DIEGO -- Nate Fernley pitched seven consecutive scoreless innings and went the distance Saturday to lead BYU to the Mountain West Conference Championship with a 4-3 defeat over San Diego State at Tony Gwynn Stadium.

The Cougars, now 38-20, gain the automatic berth to the field of 64 in the NCAA Regionals. Pairings and the complete field will be announced live on ESPN-TV on Monday at 1 p.m. MDT.

Fernley, who threw 125 pitches, improved his record to an NCAA-leading 16-2 in gaining his second victory of the week and was named MWC Tournament MVP. Joining Fernley on the all-tourney team were Cougars Kainoa Obrey, Seth King, and Doug Jackson.

Despite only striking out one Aztec and falling behind 3-0 to SDSU, Fernley lowered his ERA to 3.12. BYU Coach Vance Law made a visit to the mound with two out in the seventh inning. Aztec Anthony Gwynn was due at bat with two men on.

"I didn't have to talk Coach into letting me stay, he just told me he had come out to give me a breather," said Fernley, who earned the respect of the 1,137 fans. Gwynn battled Fernley, fouling off several pitches before flying out to a diving Shane Belliston in centerfield.

Then Belliston helped the visiting Cougars by hitting a one-out single up the middle in the eighth. Belliston advanced to second on Michael Wirrick's single to left field. SDSU skipper Jim Dietz decided to replace pitching ace Marcos Mendoza, who had come on in relief. New reliever Royce Ring struck out Obrey, but not before Belliston swiped third base.

Belliston scored the game-winning run on Seth King's single to right field. On that play, Wirrick got hung up trying to go to third and dunked under the tag returning to second. King was put out on a unique 8-6-5-4-8 tag by Gwynn to end the inning.

SDSU had taken the initial lead off a solo homer in the first inning by Darrell Bowles. The Aztecs added two more in the second when Josh Hill hit a one-out double. Hill scored off Ben Leuthard's single. Leuthard was thrown out at home on a Wirrick-Tyler Perry-Lars Birkeland play after Pilar Amaya had doubled to right field. Amaya scored off Brian Manfred's single to right.

BYU scored its first two runs in the fourth when Wirrick hit a two-out single. He scored off Obrey's deep blast to right field, ruled an error which landed him on second base. Obrey scored off King's single to right center.

Obrey scored again in the seventh after his lead-off single. He advanced on King's single again and tied the game at 3-3 when Tim Law's shot rocketed off third baseman Amaya's glove, the second Aztec error of the evening.

The Cougars went three-up-three-down in the first three innings, but Fernley kept them in the game.

"We did it," said a jubilant Fernley, who was also on the mound when BYU won the MWC regular season title last week. "I was going on adrenalin. I couldn't feel a thing in my arm."

The last time BYU played in the NCAA Regionals was in 1994 at Tallahassee, Fla., when it fell a game short of qualifying for the World Series against Florida State. Following the post-game trophy presentation, most of the team gathered around freshman designated hitter Jeff Hiestand. Hiestand opened the envelope containing his mission call to the Colorado Denver South Mission.

The Automated ScoreBook

Brigham Young Univ. at San Diego State

May 19, 2001 at San Diego, Calif. (Tony Gwynn Stadium)

Brigham Young Univ. 4 (38-20)

Player AB R H RBI BB SO PO A LOB

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JACKSON, Doug lf......... 4 0 0 0 0 1 4 0 0

BELLISTON, Shane cf...... 4 1 2 0 0 1 3 0 0

WIRRICK, Michael rf...... 4 1 2 0 0 2 5 1 0

OBREY, Kainoa 3b......... 4 2 1 1 0 2 0 1 0

KING, Seth ss............ 4 0 3 2 0 0 1 2 0

HAGUEWOOD, Ty dh......... 4 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1

LAW, Tim 1b.............. 4 0 0 0 0 0 11 1 0

BIRKELAND, Lars c........ 4 0 0 0 0 2 2 0 0

PERRY, Tyler 2b.......... 3 0 0 0 0 1 0 4 2

FERNLEY, Nate p.......... 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0

Totals................... 35 4 8 3 0 10 27 10 4

San Diego State 3 (34-26)

Player AB R H RBI BB SO PO A LOB

------------------------------------------------------

LEE, Taber ss............ 3 0 0 0 1 0 1 3 1

GWYNN, Anthony cf........ 4 0 0 0 0 0 2 1 3

BOWLES, Darrell dh....... 4 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0

PIERCE, Sean rf.......... 4 0 1 0 0 0 3 0 0

COTA, Carlo 2b........... 4 0 1 0 0 0 1 2 0

HILL, Josh 1b............ 4 1 1 0 0 0 6 1 2

LEUTHARD, Ben lf......... 4 0 1 1 0 1 1 0 0

AMAYA, Pilar 3b.......... 4 1 2 0 0 0 1 2 0

MANFRED, Brian c......... 4 0 2 1 0 0 10 1 0

HARTSHORN, Chris p....... 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 0

MENDOZA, Marcos p....... 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

RING, Royce p........... 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Totals................... 35 3 9 3 1 1 27 12 6

Score by Innings R H E

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Brigham Young Univ.. 000 200 110 - 4 8 0

San Diego State..... 120 000 000 - 3 9 2

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E - PIERCE; AMAYA. LOB - Cougars 4; SDSU 6. 2B - HILL; AMAYA. HR -

BOWLES(3). SB - BELLISTON. CS - BELLISTON.

Brigham Young Univ. IP H R ER BB SO AB BF

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FERNLEY, Nate....... 9.0 9 3 3 1 1 35 36

San Diego State IP H R ER BB SO AB BF

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HARTSHORN, Chris.... 6.1 5 3 0 0 7 24 24

MENDOZA, Marcos..... 1.0 2 1 1 0 1 6 6

RING, Royce......... 1.2 1 0 0 0 2 5 5

Win - FERNLEY (16-2). Loss - MENDOZA (7-6). Save - None.

WP - FERNLEY.

Umpires - Home:Dale Luker 1st:Joe Burleson 2nd:Dan Pedersen 3rd:Dan Perugini

Start: 7:00 Time: 2:13 Attendance: 1137

Game notes:

MWC Championship Game