Brock Hale got three of BYU's nine hits in a 13-2 loss to No. 17 Cal State Fullerton in the NCAA Region opener on Thursday. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
STANFORD, California (June 1, 2017)—No. 17 Cal State Fullerton rode the arm of All-American pitcher Connor Seabold and cruised to a 13-2 victory over No. 26 BYU baseball in the NCAA regional on Thursday.
A sluggish start by No. 26 BYU at Stanford’s Sunken Diamond, fueled by two Cougar errors gave the Titans (35-21) an early 3-0 first inning lead. That margin increased to 6-0 when Hunter Cullen belted a two-run homer from the first offerings of Jordan Wood who had just replaced starter Brady Corless in the third.
“We got outhit, outpitched and outcoached this afternoon,” BYU coach Mike Littlewood said. “When you get to this point in a season you can't afford to not play your best and today we played less than our best.
“Seabold was outstanding today and just didn't give us many pitches to hit. He was everything the scouting reports said he was and we just couldn't crack him. We will come back tomorrow (Friday) and give it everything we've got.”
Seabold (11-4) fanned a BYU batter in each of his first five innings, putting the Cougars down in order except for the third and fifth frames. The junior right-hander left the game after seven innings with eight strikeouts with no walks and received plenty of offensive support.
Midway through the fourth inning, every Titan batter recorded at least one hit. Dillon Persinger’s third-consecutive single found him hung up between first and second with centerfielder Keaton Kringlen’s cutoff throw complete to Brennon Anderson who fired to Colton Shaver to erase the Titan scrambling back to the bag. However, CSF scored a run on the play and Wood was replaced by lefty Bo Burrup.
The only offense BYU could hang its hat on was a third-inning single by Nate Favero until he returned to bat with Brock Hale and David Clawson on base. Favero drove Hale home with his double in the fifth.
That momentum was short-lived as Burrup surrendered two singles, aided by a balk which enabled the Titan duo to score on Chris Prescott’s single. Prescott tried to steal second with a 9-1 lead, but overslid second and was pegged out by the Bronson Larsen to Daniel Schneemann combo.
BYU got another pair of runners aboard in the sixth with two-out singles by Kringlen and Hale, but the tandem was stranded. Keaton Cenatiempo then relieved Burrup to start the sixth.
Just as Seabold was reestablishing his command over BYU with a leadoff strikeout in the seventh, BYU’s Shaver swatted a homer, his 12th, over the left field fence for a 9-2 score.
The Cougars (37-20) are relegated to the elimination round game on Friday at 1 p.m. PDT against Sacramento State, who lost to No. 8 Stanford 10-0, on Thursday evening.
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