An Out Away, Hopeful of NCAA Berth

Stephen Wells extended his hitting streak to 15 games and was one of four Cougars named to the all-tourney team. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

LAS -- MVP Austin Adams' three-run homer propelled TCU past BYU as it went on to win the Mountain West Conference Championship on Saturday afternoon, 9-8.

With one out remaining in the game, BYU had a comfortable 8-5 victory snatched from it by Adams' blast to dead-center over the fence at the green batter's eye screen which tied the score eight-all. Two batters later the Horned Frogs earned the automatic berth in NCAA post-season play. Meanwhile, the devastated Cougars wait, mulling 'what-ifs' on a long bus-ride home, hoping their 37-20 record will be attractive enough for an invitation on Monday.

"I feel bad for BYU," TCU Coach Jim Schlossnagle told the crowd over the public address system in post-game ceremonies. "They are a great team. We have played them 14 times and every game has been a dog fight. It will be a travesty if they don't get in the NCAA Tournament."

The valiant Cougars had the defending champs down for the count for the second straight day and ready for a third game had they been able to pull off the victory.

"Give those guys credit for bouncing back," said BYU Coach Vance Law. "We weren't as patient and selective as we were earlier in the game. We didn't come up with any timely hits--the bigger the game, the more important the execution.

"Blaine (Howell) pitched a great game for us."

Howell, a southpaw freshman from North Carolina, made his eighth start of the season as the Cougars were fighting an uphill battle after falling in the loser's bracket on Friday following a one-run loss to TCU.

TCU rested while BYU clawed its way back by beating UNLV late Friday night. Howell and company found the right chemistry to take a 3-0 lead after the first inning. The Cougars took advantage of the sun, a balk and a sac-fly as Kent Walton led off with a double and scored to put them up 4-0 in the third.

The Cougars turned key double plays in the second, third and fourth innings. But the fourth and fifth frames were where early signs of unraveling started to show.

First, Walton missed second base as he tried to advance to third on Steve Parker's single to center field in the two-run fourth and was called out on an appeal. Then BYU left the bases loaded in the two-run fifth. In the bottom of that frame, the ball flipped out of Leon Johnson's glove following a lengthy sprint in right field.

By the time Howell left the game in the seventh, though, BYU had it's 8-5 lead. Reliever Matt Jensen was on his way to a second save in three days and Cougar coaches were scrambling to see which pitchers might be available for a championship game in the evening.

It came to an end too quickly. Soon Parker, Stephen Wells, Kasey Ko and Apana Nakayama were being applauded as they were named to the all-tournament team. The honors seem shallow compared with the gnawing feeling knowing how close they came to knocking off TCU, a team responsible for six of BYU's 20 losses this season.

Perhaps the two victories over the No. 18 Horned Frogs earlier this season, one of which came at the hands of MWC Pitcher of the Year Jesse Craig, the senior Cougar ace with 10-2 record and 2.94 ERA will be attractive to the NCAA selection committee.

Perhaps a victory over top 20 Missouri or pairs of wins over Washington and Gonzaga or being the No. 1 team in the land for hitting triples may push BYU over the bubble.

Or perhaps winning 22 of the past 29 games since April might convince someone to give the speedy Cougars another chance to show off the best ERA in 24 years.

BYU at #18 TCU

May 26, 2007 at Las Vegas, NV (Earl E. Wilson)

BYU 8 (37-20)

Player AB R H RBI BB SO PO A LOB

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

WELLS, Stephen cf........ 5 1 3 1 0 1 5 0 0

VARGAS, Dan ss........... 4 1 1 0 0 2 1 6 1

NAKAYAMA, Apana dh....... 3 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1

WALTON, Kent lf.......... 5 2 3 2 0 0 1 0 3

PARKER, Steve 3b......... 4 0 2 1 1 0 1 3 0

KO, Kasey 1b............. 4 1 2 2 0 1 10 0 0

PARRY, David ph......... 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

BILLS, Thomas 1b........ 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0

JOHNSON, Leon rf......... 5 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0

MUSSO, J.T. c............ 5 1 2 0 0 2 2 1 3

HALL, Austin 2b.......... 5 1 3 1 0 0 4 4 1

HOWELL, Blaine p......... 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0

JENSEN, Matt p.......... 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Totals................... 40 8 17 7 2 7 26 15 10

TCU 9 (46-12)

Player AB R H RBI BB SO PO A LOB

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

ARNOLD, Clint lf/cf...... 4 2 2 0 1 0 2 0 0

TROUT, Steven 3b......... 4 1 1 1 1 0 0 3 1

CONLON, Keith cf......... 3 1 1 2 0 0 0 0 0

STEGLICH, Corey lf...... 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0

ADAMS, Austin rf......... 3 1 1 3 2 0 2 0 3

WALKER, Andrew c......... 5 1 1 0 0 0 7 0 0

VERN, Matt 1b............ 3 0 2 1 2 0 11 1 0

KERVIN, Bryan ss......... 4 1 0 0 0 1 2 3 1

WOODRUFF, Hunt dh........ 3 2 2 0 1 0 0 0 1

CARRUTHERS, Ben 2b....... 4 0 1 1 0 0 2 2 0

CORGAN, Chance p......... 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 0

FURROW, Donald p........ 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

MAXWELL, Steven p....... 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Totals................... 35 9 11 8 7 2 27 11 7

Score by Innings R H E

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

BYU................. 301 220 000 - 8 17 2

TCU................. 001 120 104 - 9 11 0

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

Note: 2 outs, 1 runner LOB when the game ended.

E - VARGAS; PARKER. DP - BY 3; TCU 1. LOB - BY 10; TCU 7. 2B - WALTON; KO;

ARNOLD 2; WALKER. HR - CONLON; ADAMS. HBP - NAKAYAMA. SH - VARGAS. SF - KO.

SB - WELLS; JOHNSON, L.; HALL 2.

BYU IP H R ER BB SO AB BF

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

HOWELL, Blaine...... 6.2 7 5 3 5 1 25 30

JENSEN, Matt........ 2.0 4 4 4 2 1 10 12

TCU IP H R ER BB SO AB BF

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

CORGAN, Chance...... 4.0 11 7 7 2 3 20 24

FURROW, Donald...... 4.2 6 1 1 0 4 19 20

MAXWELL, Steven..... 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 1 1

Win - MAXWELL (1-0). Loss - JENSEN (5-5). Save - None.

WP - CORGAN. HBP - by FURROW (NAKAYAMA). BK - CORGAN.

Umpires - HP: John Ausmus 1B: Ray Leible 2B: Tom Chandler 3B: Mike Gilmore

Start: 3:05 pm Time: 3:20 Attendance: 229

Game notes:

CORGAN faced 1 batter in the 5th.

BYU starters: 1/cf WELLS; 13/ss VARGAS; 24/dh NAKAYAMA; 9/lf WALTON; 5/3b

PARKER; 22/1b KO; 14/rf JOHNSON, L.; 10/c MUSSO; 18/2b HALL; 15/p HOWELL;

TCU starters: 5/lf ARNOLD; 16/3b TROUT; 27/cf CONLON; 44/rf ADAMS; 6/c WALKER;

21/1b VERN; 1/ss KERVIN; 2/dh WOODRUFF; 20/2b CARRUTHERS; 28/p CORGAN;

BYU 1st - WELLS grounded out to 3b. VARGAS singled to left field.

NAKAYAMA walked; VARGAS advanced to second. WALTON singled to center field,

RBI; NAKAYAMA advanced to third; VARGAS scored. PARKER singled to left field,

RBI; WALTON advanced to third; NAKAYAMA scored. KO grounded out to 1b

unassisted, RBI; PARKER advanced to second; WALTON scored. JOHNSON, L. singled

to shortstop; PARKER advanced to third. JOHNSON, L. stole second. MUSSO struck

out. 3 runs, 4 hits, 0 errors, 2 LOB.

TCU 1st - ARNOLD grounded out to 2b. TROUT grounded out to 3b. CONLON

flied out to lf. 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 LOB.

BYU 2nd - HALL singled to center field. WELLS struck out. HALL stole

second. VARGAS struck out. NAKAYAMA out at first 1b to p. 0 runs, 1 hit, 0

errors, 1 LOB.

TCU 2nd - ADAMS walked. WALKER grounded into double play ss to 2b to 1b;

ADAMS out on the play. VERN grounded out to ss. 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0

LOB.

BYU 3rd - WALTON doubled to center field. PARKER walked. PARKER advanced

to second on a balk; WALTON advanced to third on a balk. KO flied out to lf,

SAC, RBI; WALTON scored. JOHNSON, L. grounded out to 1b unassisted; PARKER

advanced to third. MUSSO grounded out to ss. 1 run, 1 hit, 0 errors, 1

LOB.

TCU 3rd - KERVIN reached on a fielding error by ss. WOODRUFF singled to

left field; KERVIN advanced to second. CARRUTHERS singled to left field, RBI;

WOODRUFF advanced to second; KERVIN scored, unearned. ARNOLD flied out to cf.

TROUT grounded into double play ss to 2b to 1b; CARRUTHERS out on the play.

1 run, 2 hits, 1 error, 1 LOB.

BYU 4th - HALL singled to right field. HALL stole second. WELLS singled

to right field; HALL advanced to third. VARGAS grounded out to p, SAC, bunt;

WELLS advanced to second. NAKAYAMA grounded out to p. WELLS advanced to third

on a wild pitch; HALL scored on a wild pitch. WALTON singled through the left

side, RBI; WELLS scored. PARKER singled to center field; WALTON out at second

2b unassisted. 2 runs, 4 hits, 0 errors, 1 LOB.

TCU 4th - CONLON homered to right field, RBI. ADAMS walked. WALKER flied

out to cf. VERN singled to right field; ADAMS advanced to third. KERVIN

grounded into double play 2b to ss to 1b; VERN out on the play. 1 run, 2

hits, 0 errors, 1 LOB.

BYU 5th - KO singled to center field. FURROW to p for CORGAN. JOHNSON,

L. popped up to ss. MUSSO singled to left field; KO advanced to second. HALL

singled to center field, RBI; MUSSO advanced to third; KO scored. WELLS singled

through the left side, RBI; HALL advanced to second; MUSSO scored. VARGAS

struck out. NAKAYAMA hit by pitch; WELLS advanced to second; HALL advanced to

third. WALTON flied out to rf. 2 runs, 4 hits, 0 errors, 3 LOB.

TCU 5th - WOODRUFF walked. CARRUTHERS popped up to 3b. ARNOLD doubled to

right field; WOODRUFF advanced to third. TROUT singled to right field, RBI;

ARNOLD advanced to third; WOODRUFF scored. CONLON reached on a fielder's

choice, RBI; TROUT out at second 3b to 2b; ARNOLD scored. ADAMS flied out to

cf. 2 runs, 2 hits, 0 errors, 1 LOB.

BYU 6th - ARNOLD to cf. STEGLICH to lf for CONLON. PARKER grounded out

to ss. KO struck out. JOHNSON, L. grounded out to 3b. 0 runs, 0 hits, 0

errors, 0 LOB.

TCU 6th - WALKER flied out to cf. VERN walked. KERVIN struck out

looking. VERN out at first c to 1b, picked off. 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0

LOB.

BYU 7th - MUSSO singled, bunt. HALL grounded into double play ss to 2b

to 1b; MUSSO out on the play. WELLS singled to third base. WELLS stole second.

VARGAS grounded out to 3b. 0 runs, 2 hits, 0 errors, 1 LOB.

TCU 7th - WOODRUFF singled up the middle. CARRUTHERS grounded out to p;

WOODRUFF advanced to second. ARNOLD walked. TROUT flied out to rf. STEGLICH

reached on a throwing error by 3b, advanced to second; ARNOLD advanced to

third; WOODRUFF scored, unearned. JENSEN to p for HOWELL. ADAMS grounded out to

ss. 1 run, 1 hit, 1 error, 2 LOB.

BYU 8th - NAKAYAMA struck out. WALTON popped up to ss. PARKER grounded

out to 2b. 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 0 LOB.

TCU 8th - WALKER grounded out to 3b. VERN walked. KERVIN flied out to

cf. WOODRUFF popped up to 2b. 0 runs, 0 hits, 0 errors, 1 LOB.

BYU 9th - KO doubled to left field. PARRY pinch hit for KO. JOHNSON, L.

flied out to rf. MUSSO struck out. MAXWELL to p for FURROW. HALL flied out to

cf. 0 runs, 1 hit, 0 errors, 1 LOB.

TCU 9th - BILLS to 1b for PARRY. CARRUTHERS grounded out to ss. ARNOLD

doubled to left field. TROUT walked. STEGLICH struck out. ADAMS homered to

center field, 3 RBI; TROUT scored; ARNOLD scored. WALKER doubled to right

field. VERN singled, RBI; WALKER scored. 4 runs, 4 hits, 0 errors, 1

LOB.

Tags: Results