SALT LAKE CITY — The BYU baseball team claimed its first regular-season conference championship in 30 years this season but the top-seeded Cougars, ranked No. 24 by Baseball America, crumbled in the West Coast Conference Tournament at Banner Island Ballpark in Stockton, California.
After falling to No. 4 Loyola Marymount in Thursday’s opener, BYU dropped a 3-1 decision to No. 2 Gonzaga Friday afternoon and was eliminated.
Now the Cougars will have to wait until Monday morning to find out if they’ve done enough in the regular season to earn an at-large berth to the 64-team NCAA Tournament.
Having lost out on the automatic bid for the conference tournament championship, it’s likely BYU’s season is over.
“Maybe winning a league championship and having an RPI in the low 40s is going to help us,” coach Mike Littlewood told the BYU Sports Network. “San Francisco got in one year when their RPI was 48 and they didn’t win the league. It depends on who’s on the committee when they choose the last 10 or 12 teams. We’ll just keep our fingers crossed that our body of work has proven. … Honestly, we needed to play better lately to make a true statement. We’ll see what happens.”16 comments on this story
The Cougars’ offense disappeared at Banner Island Ballpark. BYU scored only two runs and struck out 19 times in the two setbacks.
Gonzaga starter Mac Lardner allowed only three hits and struck out seven in eight innings of work.
“Our three and four hitters didn’t show up this tournament,” Littlewood said. “When Brock (Hale) and Jackson (Cluff) don’t hit for us, we don’t win. We’ve seen it in the 16 or 17 games we’ve lost this year. When they don’t hit, we have a tough time winning.”