First-year coach Mike Littlewood saw his team drop a 5-1 loss at No. 22 Gonzaga on Friday night. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
SPOKANE, Wash. — League-leading No. 22 Gonzaga beat BYU baseball 5-1 Friday night behind the complete-game pitching of lefty Tyler Olson.
Olson improved his record to 8-2 as Gonzaga improved its record to 28-13-1 overall and 15-5 in the West Coast Conference. BYU fell to 20-17 and 7-7.
Olson threw 113 pitches and scattered seven hits as the Bulldogs held a 5-0 lead until BYU outfielder Jaycob Brugman belted a leadoff homer in the seventh inning. Brugman hit Olson’s hanging curve ball on a 1-0 count over the right field fence, his fifth dinger of the season.
Brugman continued stellar play with a diving catch in foul territory in the bottom of the seventh. A shovel toss from Brock Whitney to Dakota Hernandez at home in the eighth prevented run number six.
Gonzaga center fielder Alex Bonczyk hit a two-run homer, his first of the year, in the sixth to put the Zags up 5-0.
“Tonight you see why they are in first place,” BYU head coach Mike Littlewood said. “They have two of the best pitchers in the conference, if not the country. He (Olson) had pinpoint control and carved us up.
“It was a tough, frustrating night. You have to tip your hat to them. They played solid defense, and got key hitting."
One of those Bulldog defensive plays came when first baseman Marco Gonzales made an acrobatic catch of Bret Lopez’ line drive just after Cougar Kelton Caldwell led off the fifth inning with a double to the left center wall.
“It was a momentum shift, that play would have picked us up a little bit,” Littlewood said. “In a four-run margin, those plays count. We’re in the middle of the pack and need to pick it up. I like our matchup with Adam Miller and expect good things tomorrow."
The two teams conclude the three-game series on Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. PDT, in a contest broadcast live locally by KOVO Radio 960 AM and on the Internet.