Walk-off homer by Jarrett Jarvis in 10th inning defeats Saint Mary's
MORAGA, California—Jarrett Jarvis hit a walk-off home run in the 10th inning Monday, giving BYU a 4-3 win at Saint Mary’s and the No. 3 seed in the league tournament.
Jarvis knocked a 2-0 pitch over left field just out of the grasp of defensive specialist Joey Fiske as it skimmed over the corner of the 330-foot left field fence. The senior catcher hadn’t much seen action since teammate Bronson Larsen began a 23-game hitting streak which ended this game when he switched to left field.
“I saw a fastball up and in and I was ready to hit, ‘cause that was my plan,” Jarvis said. “I got a pretty good swing on it. I didn’t know if it was going out, so I was just trying to get on second in case he dropped it. I realized it was out when the outfielder stopped running.”
The Cougars, now 28-23 overall and 16-11 in the West Coast Conference, high-fived around Jarvis after he crossed the plate following breezy to gusty winds on a chilly 61-degree afternoon amidst the picturesque tree-lined setting at Saint Mary’s College.
“What a fitting ending to our conference season,” BYU coach Mike Littlewood said. “Despite not playing a lot over the last month or so Jarv (Jarrett Jarvis) has kept himself ready to play and it paid off for him and us today. That at bat epitomizes what this team is all about.”
That win earned the No. 3 seed in the WCC Tournament which begins on Thursday, meaning BYU plays No. 2 seeded Pepperdine and avoids a showdown for the time being against No. 1 seed San Diego. The victory at Saint Mary’s, was in jeopardy, but the Cougars had “home” advantage with the contest mandated by conference bylaws to make up for a rainout earlier this month in Provo.
Gaels’ pitcher/designated hitter Anthony Gonsolin was throwing a no-hitter through the fifth inning when he increased the lead to 2-0 with a solo home run.
“Gonsolin was outstanding for St. Mary's, in fact in the fifth I started to feel like he had no-hitter type stuff,” Littlewood said. “Colton's (Shaver) home run meant so much more than just getting us a run, it made us realize he wasn't unhittable.”
The no-hitter in progress didn’t go unnoticed by BYU freshman Colton Shaver when he came to bat with two outs in the bottom of the fifth.
“I was just trying to stay relaxed and seeing a good pitch and I got one and I hit it well,” said Shaver, who knocked his 13th homer of the year on Gonsolin’s first pitch. Shaver’s homer sailed beyond the 370-feet plus marker designating the retired jersey No. 49 for Tom Candiotti, an SMC alum and Major League pitcher . “It was a fastball right down the middle, It didn’t feel very good off my bat, but the wind helped it carry.”
With the no-hitter gone and now trailing 2-1, Littlewood continued to get good defense from the Cougars and another inning of work from junior starter Brady Corless before going to his bullpen.
“Brady (Corless) gave us six strong innings and our bullpen got the job done,” Littlewood said. “It was great to see Jeff Barker back out on the mound and really nice to see Riley (Gates) start to settle in - his stuff was dynamic today. James (Lengal) was solid as well - despite not getting a close pitches he kept battling and got the job done.”
Among the stellar defensive plays was a pair of double plays turned by shortstop Hayden Nielsen in the second and fourth innings and a pickoff at first base by Corless in the sixth, executed in such a fashion that it held the Gael runner at third base. Jarvis also put an early nail in the Gaels’ coffin when he threw out three-hole hitter Collin Ferguson trying to steal second in the third inning. SMC had runners aboard every inning except the fifth when Gonsolin homered.
“We did a great job of playing solid defense, making pitches when we needed to and getting key hits,” Littlewood said. “I'm so proud of our fight.”
The WCC Tournament begins on Thursday in Stockton, Calif., at Banner Island Ballpark, home of the high A Ports. BYU plays the nightcap on Thursday at 7 p.m. PDT against Pepperdine in a game broadcast live over ESPN 960 AM/BYU Radio and streamed online by theW.tv.
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