Starting pitcher Bryce Robison scattered five hits and struck out three over 6.1 innings to lead BYU baseball to a 4-3 win over Saint Mary’s at Miller Park on Saturday.

“Bryce was very efficient today,” said BYU head coach Mike Littlewood. “He was pitching to contact and letting his defense do their work. We really needed a good outing form him today and he delivered.”

Robison recorded his sixth win of the season giving up just one earned run while facing 28 Gael hitters.

In the bottom of the first, Mitch McIntyre scored off an Andrew Pintar single to center field. Pintar went on to steal second and later scored from third courtesy a Jacob Rogers single up the middle.

BYU would extend its lead to 3-0 in the bottom of the fourth when a Brock Watkins double to right field set up Abraham Valdez’s score off a sacrifice fly from McIntyre.

In the top of the fifth, the Gaels appeared to be threatening when a Cougar error allowed a Saint Mary’s runner to reach third. The Gaels would strand the runner at third when Hunter Swapp collected a pop-fly into shallow left field and a putout from Pintar ended the threat.

Following a scoreless sixth inning from both teams, Saint Mary’s pulled within one in the seventh when a runner scored off a throwing error and a walk with bases loaded sent another Gael home to cut the BYU lead to 3-2. BYU pitcher Reid McLaughlin then entered the game and successfully closed the door with a bases loaded strikeout to end the inning.

In the bottom of the eighth, Joshua Cowden would put away the game for the Cougars when he scored all the way from first base on a Valdez double to left center.

McLaughlin and Cooper McKeehan would close out the day on the mound for the Cougars, with McKeehan staving off a last gasp effort from the Gaels with a strikeout for out No. 2 and a groundout to third base to seal the victory.

On Tuesday, BYU knocked off No. 26 Arizona State 8-5.

With the win, the Cougars complete a three-game sweep of the Gaels and advances to 9-9 in WCC play, 16-23 on the season.

BYU faces UVU in the UCCU Crosstown Clash at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.

Softball splits two games with LMU

BYU softball split a doubleheader with LMU on Saturday, losing the first game in 10 innings, 3-2, and dominating the second, 9-1, in six innings.

“We dropped a heartbreaker in Game 1,” said BYU head coach Gordon Eakin. “We played a solid Game 2 to take the series. Our pitching this weekend was outstanding.”

With the first game tied at two apiece, BYU forced LMU into extra innings. Despite early scoring, BYU pitcher Arissa Paulson and LMU’s Marina Vitalich fought through a pitching duel not allowing a run to score in five straight innings. Ultimately, a walk-off double for LMU closed out the game in the bottom of the 10th frame.

In Game 2 the BYU offense exploded in the sixth with four runs, starting with a three-run homer by Zavodnik. With loaded bases, Autumn Moffat-Korth added an additional insurance run with a single through the gap between third and shortstop to give BYU a 9-1 lead.

Next up, the Cougars will travel to Cedar City to face SUU on at 3 p.m. on Tuesday.

Men’s golf takes second at WCC Championships

HENDERSON, Nev. – BYU men’s golf scored a 5-under 283 to finish runner-up to No. 8 Pepperdine in the final round of the 2021 WCC Championship at Reflection Bay Golf Course on Saturday.

“The guys are playing some great golf right now, we’re just having a hard time finishing,” said BYU head coach Bruce Brockbank. “Pepperdine is a great golf team. They’ve been playing great all year long. Second is a good finish for us.”

While the Waves posted a tournament record 49-under par, BYU overcame No. 25 San Francisco to finish in second place with a 54-hole score of 25-under 277-279-283—839.

The Cougars achieved their best WCC Championship finish since winning the conference in 2016-17. BYU finished well ahead of WCC preseason coaches poll which had the Cougars slated to finish fifth.

Carson Lundell carded a three-round score of 68-67-71—206 and tied for third with Joe Highsmith of Pepperdine and Ethan Ashbrook of Saint Mary’s. It was Lundell’s third consecutive top-3 finish and fifth of the season.

“I feel terrible for Carson,” said Brockbank. “He played another great round today, but let it slip coming in. The wind was blowing and those last four or five holes were really tough.”

Kelton Hirsch may have seen his last tournament action for the Cougars on Saturday, but the senior from Centerville made it count. Hirsch fired three birdies on the front to cement his spot in the top-10 and earn his best three-round score of the season at 67-70-72—209.

Sophomore Cole Ponich posted the team’s best score of the day with a 69 to finish tied for 18th (72-73-69—214).

The Cougars now return to Provo where they will await Wednesday’s NCAA Championship Selection Show to learn their postseason fate.

“Our team has improved a lot over the last three or four months,” said Brockbank. “We’ll see on Wednesday if we have a chance to go and play in an NCAA regional or whether it’s just going to be Carson playing as an individual. We played really well down the stretch and we should have a shot.”

The selection show can be viewed at noon on Wednesday on the Golf Channel.

Orton, Wayment break school records

CLOVIS, Calif. – All-Americans Whittni Orton and Courtney Wayment both broke school records in their respective events as BYU track and field had 11 athletes move up the program’s top 10 list at the West Coast Relays.

A power outage at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Clovis, California, delayed Friday’s distance events late into the night. While waiting for the power to come back on, cars were positioned around the track so that their headlights provided some light, and those attending the meet were asked to circle the fence around the track with their cellphone lights. The stadium lights came back on following the men’s 1500m invitational race.

After having the 3000m steeplechase invitational pushed back late into the night, Wayment put together one of the most historic performances in school and collegiate history. The two-time national champion completed the race in an NCAA-leading 9:31.37 to break the BYU record by more than 11 seconds (Erica Birk-Jarvis, 9:42.54, 2019). Only four women’s collegiate runners have run faster times than Wayment and her time marks the fastest steeplechase since 2016.

Orton claimed her fourth school record after recording a 4:09.31 in the 1500m invitational on Friday. The All-American’s time marks the third fastest in the NCAA this year. Orton broke Jamie Cottle’s record of 4:11.67, set in 2003, by more than two seconds.

Three other Cougars also ran all-time marks in the 1500m invitational. All-American Anna Camp-Bennett completed the race in 4:11.63, marking the second-fastest time in school history and the sixth-fastest time in the country. All-American Olivia Hoj Simister ran a 4:13.28 to move up to No. 5 on the BYU Top 10 list (No. 12 in the NCAA this year) and All-American Kate Hunter crossed in 4:14.53, marking the seventh-fastest time in program history.

Racing with the help of car headlights and cellphone flashlights, All-Americans Talem Franco, Lucas Bons, Conner Mantz and Casey Clinger all ran top-5 times in program history in the men’s 1500m invitational.

Franco ran a 3:37.55, marking the second-fastest time in BYU history and the sixth-fastest time in the nation this year. Bons finished the race in 3:37.68 for the third-fastest time in program history and Mantz ran a 3:37.96 for the fourth-best time on the BYU Top 10 board. Clinger rounded out the historic race with a 3:38.16, marking the fifth-fastest time in school history.

Follow Darnell Dickson on Twitter @darnellwrites or e-mail him at ddickson@heraldextra.com.

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