BYU baseball falls to Gonzaga 9-4 in series rubber match

A number of missed opportunities led to a 9-4 loss for BYU baseball Saturday afternoon, dropping its second straight contest to Gonzaga to lose the first home series of WCC play.

While knocking 11 base hits, the Cougars were an abysmal 1-10 with runners in scoring position and never able to get into a groove at the plate, squandering plenty of chances to fight back into the contest.

“Offensively we had chances throughout the game to take the momentum and the lead, but we ended up a hit short in a couple of key situations,” BYU assistant coach Brent Haring said.

BYU pitchers held Gonzaga scoreless in seven of nine innings, but walks, team errors and an inability to finish batters fueled a four-run fourth and five-run eighth to ultimately seal BYU’s fate. Seven of Gonzaga’s nine runs came with two outs, with Bulldog batters drawing seven walks to wear down the Cougar hurlers and capitalize for the two decisive scoring outbursts.

Following a Ryan Sepede RBI in opening frame, BYU starter Ryan Brady cruised through the Bulldog batting order with 3 2/3 innings of scoreless ball, only for the wheels to fall off with two outs in the fourth for Gonzaga to put four runs on the board and end Brady’s outing.

In the eighth, BYU’s typically solid defense committed a pair of errors that led to a three-run blast from Bulldog first baseman Shea Kramer amid the five-run frame. The Cougars fought back in the bottom of the frame for three runs on a Jacob Wilk homer, Jacob Rogers triple and Ozzie Pratt sacrifice fly, but the late rally wouldn’t be enough to turn the tide.

BYU’s bats only managed a mere three extra base hits, with Rogers, Mitch McIntrye and Hayden Leatham each adding two hits in the contest. Gonzaga starter Trystan Vrieling confounded the Cougars to the tune of 6 1/3 innings, one earned run and six strikeouts in a winning effort, with Brady taking the loss.

With the loss Saturday, BYU falls to 12-9 on the season and 2-4 in conference play. The Cougars will host Washington State this Tuesday in Provo at 1 p.m. MST before heading on the road for a weekend series at Saint Mary’s.

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