Infielder Brock Watkins throws to first base against Arizona State on April 27. The Cougars went 4-0 last week to gain momentum heading into the final month of the season. (Addie Blacker)

Olympic overview: Baseball gaining steam, individual honors roll in

The BYU baseball team won all four of its games last week to pick up some momentum heading into the final month of the regular season, and players from a variety of Olympic sports took home individual honors.

Baseball

It’s been an up-and-down season for BYU baseball, who currently sit at 16-23 on the season, but a four-game win streak last week helped the Cougars improve to a winning home record of 8-6. The run of wins included a victory over No. 26 Arizona State and a three-game series sweep of WCC foe Saint Mary’s.

BYU is now an even 9-9 in conference play, with three more three-games series remaining against WCC opponents.

The perfect week was aided in large part by a breakout from junior Cole Gambill, who put up three home runs en route to WCC Player of the Week, the first weekly honor for BYU this season.

In 15 at bats over the four games, Gambill had eight hits including three home runs, six total runs and six RBI. He had a hit in all four games, with multiple hits in three of the four.

The Cougars’ pitching also showed noticeable improvement in the victories, including an eight-strikeout performance from Easton Walker in a 12-0 win in the series opener against Saint Mary’s. Reid McLaughlin served as a clutch closer, earning his sixth save on the mound this season in the game-two win over the Gaels on April 30.

BYU plays its next seven games on the road, including a road series at San Diego and Pacific.

Men’s volleyball

The BYU men’s volleyball team was well-represented in the AVCA All-American selections this week, with three players named to the first team and two more as honorable mentions.

Opposite hitter Gabi Garcia Fernandez, outside hitter Davide Gardini and setter Wil Stanley were all named to the AVCA All-America First Team for the second consecutive season. Middle blocker Felipe de Brito Ferreira and outside hitter Zach Eschenberg were named to the honorable mention list.

With five total selections, this is the most BYU men’s volleyball players to receive honors in a season in program history. Previously the record was four. 

Garcia Fernandez is only the second menโ€™s volleyball player in BYU history to be named an All-American all four years of his eligibility. He was also named MPSF Player of the Year for the second year in a row.

The Cougars play for a national championship this week, beginning on Thursday, May 6 in the NCAA semifinals, with the championship match on May 8 if BYU advances.

Men’s golf

Two members of the BYU men’s golf team were recognized in the All-WCC teams this week, with junior Carson Lundell named to the first team and senior Kelton Hirsch as an honorable mention.

Lundell has emerged as BYU’s No. 1 option, finishing in the top three in the final three tournaments of the season, including co-champion at the PING Cougar Classic in Provo on April 24. He also finished tied for third at the WCC Championship on May 1.

Hirsch played his best golf of the season at the WCC Championship, finishing 10th with a three-round score of 7-under (67-70-72โ€”209). The senior from Centerville, Utah played in nine of 10 tournaments for BYU this season and had another top-10 finish at the Rustic Collegiate Classic on Nov. 6, 2020.

Lundell, Hirsh and the BYU golf team will learn if they have been selected to compete at NCAA Regionals during the Golf Channelโ€™s NCAA Championship Selection Show on Wednesday, May 5 at noon MDT.

Softball

The BYU softball team saw its 16-game win streak come to and end last week, as the Cougars began an eight-game road trip with a loss at UVU and a pair of wins and one loss in a series at Loyola Marymount.

Despite the up-and-down week, the Cougars swept the weekly WCC player awards, with Violet Zavodnik named Player of the Week and Autumn Moffat-Korth named Pitcher of the Week.

Moffat-Korth pitched two complete games last week and won both, while posting an ERA of 0.54. She leads the conference in ERA, runs allowed, walks allowed and doubles allowed.

Zavodnik finished the week with five hits for a batting average of .385. All of her hits were extra-base hits, including two home runs and a pair of doubles. In game two against LMU, Zavodnik finished with a double, triple and home run. The homer was a three-run hit that helped end the game after six innings.

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