Sixth-Seeded Utah Wins First-Ever MWC Baseball Tournament Title With a 9-3 Victory over Fourth-Seeded San Diego State
May 23, 2009
FORT WORTH, Texas -
The University of Utah made history by becoming the first No. 6 seed to win a Mountain West Conference baseball tournament title after upsetting fourth-seeded San Diego State, 9-3, in the championship game of the 2009 Conoco MWC Baseball Championship on Saturday at Lupton Stadium.
With the victory, Utah earns the Conference's automatic bid to the 2009 NCAA Tournament, which will be the Utes' first since 1960. Ute left-fielder Tyler Yagi, who hit .345 in six games, was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player.
"What a tremendous feat that our guys accomplished the whole week," Utah coach Bill Kinneberg said. "Our pitchers were on fumes and the guts they all showed was indicative of what they wanted. They were determined from the onset that they were going to compete here and they did."
Utah fought through the loser's bracket and knocked off the previously unbeaten Aztecs twice to win the title.
In the third inning, the Utes did all the damage they needed with a two-out rally against SDSU starter Ryan O'Sullivan. Utah sent 10 batters to the plate and had five hits, including Austin Jones' two-run double and Rick Cornu's two-run bloop single. The Utes finished with 15 hits against the Aztecs.
"They played great all tournament long," SDSU coach Tony Gwynn said of Utah. "They had one bad inning. They pretty much dominated this tournament."
San Diego State (40-21) got a run back in the bottom of the third but Utah responded with two more runs in the top of the fourth to take a commanding 8-2 lead. Yagi knocked in the first run of the fourth and two batters later C.J Cron hit his second double of the game to score Corey Shimada.
On the mound, Utah turned to Greg Krause and Brian Budrow. Krause and Budrow allowed just one run over a combined three and two-thirds innings to close the game. Krause, the Utes closer, had four tournament appearances and went 2-0 with a save. Budrow made three appearances and was 1-0 with a save.
"We knew we were good but we could never prove it," said Yagi, who led the tournament with eight RBI. "I think this tournament was a great time to prove it to everyone and it was a great time to show we were the best team."
All nine Utes had base hits in the game and seven drove in runs. Utah second baseman Corey Shimada was 3-for-4, while Yagi finished 2-for-5.
O'Sullivan suffered the loss going three and one-third innings, allowing 10 hits and eight earned runs. O'Sullivan did lead the Aztecs at the plate going 3-for-4 with an RBI.
Other Conference teams will await their postseason fate as the 2009 NCAA Baseball Tournament Selection Show will be shown live on ESPN, Monday, May 25 at 12:30 p.m. ET.
2009 CONOCO MWC BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Most Valuable Player: Tyler Yagi, Utah
Designated Hitter: Devin Walker, Utah