For the second year in a row BYU tied for the WCC regular season title following a 6-2 loss on Saturday at Gonzaga. (Photo by Nate Edwards/BYU Photo)
SPOKANE, Washington—A respectable appearance Saturday on national TV went the way of Gonzaga, 6-2, as it tied BYU for the regular season league baseball title.
With a late-evening ESPNU TV audience watching, the No. 18 Cougars battled back from a 5-0 deficit as they sought to win an outright West Coast Conference crown. In the end, the two teams tied with 20-7 WCC records.
Gonzaga, 31-17 overall, widened its lead to 3-0 from a two-run homer by Tyler Frost in the third inning. The Cougars, now 33-18, minimized the damage on a run-saving throw by Brock Hale to peg Justin Jacobs out at the plate, ending the third inning.
BYU had nabbed Jacobs on a base-running error to end the first inning after Jeff Bohling’s sharp single glanced off the glove of third baseman Nate Favero. Shortstop Daniel Schneemann snared that ricocheted ball and threw to pitcher Hayden Rogers covering third for the out
With two outs in the fourth inning, Mason Marshall spelled starter Rogers when the Bulldogs scored their fourth run of the game.
To this point the best BYU could muster was a pair of singles in the third and fourth innings by Bronson Larsen and Keaton Kringlen to no avail. Then Larsen hit a one-out gap double off the left-center wall in the fifth, but was stranded.
Brennon Anderson got on base for 25th game in a row with a dribbling infield single to lead off the sixth inning which precipitated into BYU’s first run of the game when Kringlen belted a one-out double to the left-center wall. That caused Gonzaga to make its first pitching change of the game with Cougars at second and third.
Brock Hale beat out a throw to first after it looked like he had lined out to short, but the ball dropped out of the glove to load the bases. Shaver’s bloop single plopped into no man’s land in right field to plate Schneemann and cut the margin to 5-2.
By the time Anderson came up the next inning, his second single of the game was BYU’s ninth hit of the game, three behind the Zag tally to that point. Chauncey followed Anderson’s single with one of his own, but the duo were stranded at second and third in the sixth.
The Cougars next play Loyola Marymount on Thursday evening in the opening round of the West Coast Conference Tournament in Stockton, California at 7 p.m. PDT, as either the No. 2 or 3 seed pending the outcome of Sunday’s LMU game at Portland.