Olympic overview: BYU baseball and softball finish seasons in exciting fashion
The 2021 season came to an end for the BYU baseball and softball teams last week, with baseball hosting Senior Day on May 22 and softball falling in the NCAA Regional final on the same day.
The Cougars celebrated their seniors at the final home game of the season against Pepperdine on May 22 at Miller Park, putting up five home runs in the season finale.
BYU won the three-game series against the Waves with back-to-back 14-run performances, winning 14-5 on May 21 and 14-7 on May 23, following a 3-6 loss on May 20.
“We couldn’t have scripted today’s Senior Day any better,” head coach Mike Littlewood said after the five-home-run victory to close the season. “The seniors all had a big impact on today’s game and the overall series win. I’m really pleased how we fought all year long and made great improvement the last few weeks.”
The Cougars won 11 of their last 15 games to finish with a 23-27 overall record, 15-12 in West Coast Conference play and 11-6 at home for the 2021 season. No WCC Tournament will be held this year due to COVID budget cuts.
BYU centerfielder and senior Mitch McIntyre was named WCC Player of the Week and one of the Collegiate Baseball News National Players of the Week after putting up three home runs and seven total runs in the Cougars’ final week of play.
The BYU softball team played at NCAA Regionals last week in Tempe, Arizona, losing to No. 21 Virginia Tech in both the opener and regional final. The Cougars avoided elimination following the initial loss by defeating Southern Illinois on Friday, May 21, followed by an upset over No. 12/15 Arizona State later that night to send them to the regional final.
BYU’s season ended with a 3-11 loss in just five innings to Virginia Tech, cutting a hopeful NCAA Tournament run short.
Before the weekend, freshman centerfielder Violet Zavodnik became the first WCC player ever to win both Freshman of the Year and Player of the Year for the conference, setting up a promising future for the Cougars.
Head coach Gordon Eakin took home WCC Coach of the Year and Autumn Moffat-Korth was named WCC Pitcher of the Year.
The Cougars finished the season with an overall record of 38-17 and an impressive 11-1 in WCC play. BYU met its match in road games, going 11-10 away from Provo and 15-2 at home.
Track and field
The BYU track and field team travels to College Station, Texas this weekend to begin championship season in outdoor competition at the 2021 NCAA West Preliminary Round on May 26-29. The Cougars have a program-record 69 entries at this year’s regionals.
The Cougars have the most combined men’s and women’s entries among any NCAA Division I program while breaking their own program record by 10 entries. The No. 5 BYU men’s team qualified 34 entries, tying Oregon for the most in the nation. The No. 16 BYU women’s team had the second-most entries in the NCAA with 35, just one behind Texas Tech’s 36 entries.
The BYU men’s team has the top-ranked 1,500-meter squad and 3,000-meter steeplechase squad in the nation. The men also have the No. 2 5,000-meter squad, No. 3 javelin squad, No. 4 10,000-meter squad and No. 5 pole vault squad. BYU football linebacker Max Tooley will be competing in the javelin throw.
The BYU women’s team has the top-ranked 1,500-meter squad in the nation, as well as the No. 2 javelin squad, No. 2 3,000-meter steeplechase squad and No. 2 800-meter squad.
BYU has 15 entries that are seeded in the top 5 in their respective events, headlined by top-seeded Conner Mantz (10,000-meter), Whittni Orton (5,000-meter), Ashton Riner (Javelin) and Courtney Wayment (3,000-meter Steeplechase).