(Preston Crawley)

Olympic overview: Baseball plays Utah, softball brings home WCC awards

The softball and baseball seasons are winding down, with the BYU softball team earning West Coast Conference awards ahead of the NCAA Tournament, and baseball facing rival Utah one last time.

Softball

The Cougars took four of the five major WCC honors as they prepare to face off against Virginia Tech on Thursday afternoon in the Tempe Regional of the NCAA Tournament. 

Outfielder Violet Zavodnik earned Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year honors, becoming the first player in WCC history to do both in the same year. 

Zavodnik batted .417 with 13 home runs and 44 RBIs in the 2021 season. Her numbers were even better in WCC play with a .513 average, four home runs and 18 RBIs in 12 games. 

Autumn Moffat-Korth took home the WCC Pitcher of the Year. Moffat-Korth had a conference-best 0.74 ERA in 48.1 innings pitched and earned seven wins in eight appearances. She posted an impressive strike-to-walk ratio with 42 strikeouts and four walks. 

With the Cougars posting an 11-1 WCC record and taking home the conference title, BYU head coach Gordon Eakin was awarded the WCC Coach of the Year award.

On top of the major awards, five Cougars made the All-WCC First Team. Zavodnik, Moffat-Korth, Martha Epenesa, Rylee Jensen and HannahJo Peterson all earned first-team honors. 

The WCC-champion Cougars begin their quest for a national championship in Tempe, Arizona, against Virginia Tech (33-13) on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. MDT on ESPN3.

Baseball

BYU Baseball was unable to overcome a slow start and lost to Utah 11-5 on May 18, bringing the season series to 3-1 in favor of the Utes.

Things looked good for the Cougars after Cy Neilson struck out lead-off hitter Jaylon McLaughlin on three pitches. 

Mitch McIntyre (right) slides onto a base against Utah on May 18 at Miller Park. BYU fell behind early and was unable to comeback against the Utes. (Preston Crawley)

Then everything went downhill.

An error, walk and home run put Utah up 3-0. Two more runs came across and BYU was trailing 5-0 before even taking a swing.  

The Cougars went down by as many as 10 runs before scoring two of their own in the fourth inning to avoid a shutout. Joshua Cowden scored on a wild pitch after hitting a double and Freddy Achecar scored off of a Cooper Vest groundout. 

Achecar drove in two runs of his own with a single to put the score at 11-4. He finished the night 3-of-5 with two RBIs and a triple. 

The Bat Cats brought one more run across, but were unable to mount the complete 10-run comeback.

BYU will finish its season with a three-game home series against Pepperdine this weekend. Game one of the series will be on Thursday at Miller Park.

Men’s Volleyball

Junior outside hitter Davide Gardini was named to Italy’s roster for the FIVB Men’s Volleyball Nations League on Tuesday.

Three former Cougs made the United States roster as well. Taylor Sander (2011-2014), Brenden Sander (2015-2018) and Ben Patch (2013, 2016-2017) all made the roster. Taylor Sander will be the captain for Team USA.

The FIVB Men’s Volleyball Nations League will start on May 28 and will run through June 27. Gardini’s home nation, Italy, will host the competition.

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