BYU baseball eliminated from NCAA tournament

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The BYU baseball team prepares for its elimination game against Stanford. The Cougars lost the game 9-1 and were eliminated from the NCAA tournament. (Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

The Cougars were eliminated from the NCAA tournament on Saturday by Stanford after losing 9-1 at the Sunken Diamond in Palo Alto, California.

The Cougars ended their season with a 38-21 record, tying for the ninth-most wins in school history.

“I don’t feel like the score was indicative of how good that game was,” said BYU coach Mike Littlewood. “Maverik (Buffo) gave us a chance to win, but we couldn’t solve (Chris) Castellanos. He didn’t give us anything to hit. His changeup is a game-changer and he was a bulldog out there.”

BYU gave the Cardinal a run for their money in the first five innings, leading 1-0 going into the sixth.

Colton Shaver knocked his 13th home run (second of the tournament) over the left-center fence in the fifth to give the Cougars what would be their only lead of the game.

“He (Castellanos) missed one pitch on me the entire day and I got a barrel on it,” Shaver said.

Stanford tied the score in the sixth, then took a 3-1 lead on a two-run home run to left field.

After 121 pitches, Buffo was relieved by Riley Gates to finish the seventh with a runner aboard and two out. Gates was quickly replaced by Keaton Cenatiempo after he surrendered back-to-back home runs, expanding the Cardinal lead to 6-1.

Bo Burrup replaced Cenatiempo with another short stint before Jordan Wood stopped the three-run eighth.

After three consecutive three-run innings in the sixth, seventh and eighth, Stanford kept BYU from scoring in the ninth to win 9-1.

“This is a special group of guys,” Littlewood said. “To break through like this team did is rewarding. I’d take their will and determination over any team I’ve ever had.”

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