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BYU Roundup: Baseball set for final WCC series, men’s golf earns NCAA berth

By Daily Herald - | May 17, 2023

Courtesy BYU Photo

BYU's Ozzie Pratt rounds third and heads for home during a college baseball game against Portland at Miller Park on Thursday, April 27, 2023.

BYU returns home for its final three-game series of the 2023 season, taking on West Coast Conference foe Pepperdine, May 18-20, at Miller Park. First pitch for the Thursday and Friday games is scheduled for 6 p.m. MDT, with the Saturday game slated to begin at 1 p.m. MDT.

The Cougars need to sweep Pepperdine and have Gonzaga sweep Santa Clara to have a chance to make the WCC Tournament as the No. 6 seed.

Thursday’s contest will be the 58th meeting between BYU and Pepperdine in baseball dating back to 1954. The Cougars are 25-31-1 all-time versus the Waves and 16-16 in conference play since joining the WCC for the 2011-12 season.

The Wave enters Thursday’s game with a record of 18-28 and are 7-17 in conference play. The Waves went 1-3 last week, including a 10-7 win on Tuesday at Cal State Northridge and a 0-3 series loss to LMU over the weekend.

BYU is 22-27 on the year and 11-12 in WCC play. The Cougars went 3-1 last week, including a 13-7 win over Utah at Smith’s Ballpark in Salt Lake City giving BYU the season series, 2-1. The Cougars also took the weekend series from Pacific in Stockton, California, 2-1.

BYU baseball will recognize 11 seniors prior to the final home game of the year on Saturday. Included are Peyton Cole, Josh Cowden, Austin Deming, Cole Gambill, Reid McLaughlin, Chase Peterson, Bryce Robison, Ryan Sepede, Carter Smith, Jack Sterner and Jacob Wilk.

Men’s golf earns trip to NCAA Championship

MORGAN HILL, Calif. — No. 43 BYU men’s golf fired a 4-under-par 284 in the final round of the NCAA Morgan Hill Regional at The Institute Golf Club on Wednesday to earn a trip to the NCAA Championship at Grayhawk Golf Club next week.

The Cougars were the only team to finish under par in the final round of NCAA Morgan Hill Regional as they carded rounds of 288-296-284–863 to punch their ticket to the program’s 32nd NCAA Championship. The NCAA Championship will be held at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona, May 26-31.

Zach Jones was the low finisher for BYU as he earned a tie for fourth after firing rounds of 69-73-73–215 for a 1-under-par total. The WCC individual champion carded three birdies on the opening nine of the final day to help lift the Cougars into the second qualifying spot, where they would eventually finish behind only Mississippi State.

After a lackluster opening 18 holes in which Max Brenchley posted a 4-over 76, the junior went 1-under over the final 36 holes to finish in a tie for 17th. The Alpine, Utah native carded two birdies in his final five holes to secure a top-25 regional finish and help BYU to a second-place finish.

Fifth-year seniors David Timmins and Carson Lundell anchored BYU’s lineup all season and came through with final rounds of 71 and 73 respectively to help the Cougars return to the NCAA Championship for the fourth time in five seasons. Timmins carded six birdies in his final round to cap off rounds of 72-77-71–220 while Lundell turned in scores of 72-75-73–220 to finish in a tie for 20th.

After struggling on the first two days, Tyson Shelley shot the round of the day for BYU as he carded a bogey-free 68 on Wednesday to lead the Cougar team. Shelley’s 4-under round was the lowest 18-hole score for a BYU player at the regional.

No. 18 Mississippi State (276-298-289–863) took home the team title at 1-under with No. 43 BYU (288-296-284–868) taking second at 4-over par. No. 7 Florida State (281-296-294–871) finished at 7-over in third while No. 31 Baylor (285-294-294–873) took fourth at 9 over. No. 6 Pepperdine (284-298-293–875) rounded out the teams that will be moving on as they finished fifth at 11-over par.

The Cougars now turn their attention to Grayhawk Golf Club where they will square off with 29 teams for the right to claim the 2023 NCAA Men’s Golf Championship. The championship will begin for BYU on Thursday, June 25.

Ava named WCC Softball Player of the Year

SAN MATEO, Calif. — BYU softball took three of the five major WCC awards and had nine players named to All-WCC teams, the league announced on Tuesday.

First baseman Huntyr Ava was awarded the conference’s Player of the Year award, while shortstop Ailana Agbayani was named Defensive Player of the Year and catcher Hailey Morrow was honored as the Freshman of the Year.

Agbayani, Ava, pitcher Kaysen Korth and center fielder Violet Zavodnik received All-WCC First Team honors, with left fielder Maddie Bejarano, third baseman Martha Epenesa, Morrow, pitcher Chloe Temples and infielder Tristen Turlington being named to the All-WCC Second Team.

Ava led both the team and the conference with 46 RBI and 14 home runs. She ranked No. 9 in the nation averaging 1.15 RBI per game and No. 14 with 0.35 home runs per game. Her .350 batting average and .767 slugging percentage are also team-highs.

Agbayani has the second-best batting average on the team, at .329, and has scored the second-most as well, with 34. With a .952 fielding percentage, she has also pitched 31 2/3 innings in the circle for the Cougars, posting a 2.21 ERA with five wins and 26 strikeouts.

Morrow has recorded a .314 batting average and is second on the team with a .603 slugging percentage, 38 RBI, 21 walks drawn and nine home runs. Behind the dish, she has a .994 fielding percentage on 333 total chances, catching 12 runners stealing this season.

Korth’s 18 victories are also a team and conference-high. She has posted a 2.40 ERA in 160 1/3 innings of work, with 175 strikeouts. Tied for second-most with nine homers, Zavodnik has tallied 36 RBI on the year. She is 9-for-10 on stolen bases and boasts a perfect fielding percentage in center field.

Bejarano is batting .300 and leads the team with 25 total walks. Starting all 48 games, she also has a team-high 12 sacrifice bunts and ranks No. 15 in the country with a 0.26 per game average. Epenesa has hit five home runs this season on a .269 average, tallying 18 RBI and a .462 slugging percentage. At third base, she has a .970 fielding percentage.

Temples has tossed 106 strikeouts in 101 1/3 innings pitched, with a 3.80 ERA. She has picked up seven wins and has also gone the distance seven times this season. Turlington has been a force late for BYU, hitting .353 and slugging .627 in 21 games played. She has totaled 15 RBI, including a 3-home run doubleheader that featured a grand slam and walk-off homer.


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