Corey Shimada went 3-for-4 in Utah's title game, scoring two runs.
May 23, 2009
FORT WORTH - The Utah baseball team defeated San Diego State, 9-3, in the Mountain West Conference Tournament Championship game to win their first MWC Tournament in league history.
With the win, the Utes receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. It will be the first time since 1960 that Utah has reached the tournament. Utah finds out its regional destination during the NCAA Selection Show on ESPN on Monday, May 25, at 12:30 p.m. (ET).
Tyler Yagi, who had 10 hits during the tournament, was named Most Valuable Player, while Devin Walker was named the tournament's designated hitter and Greg Krause, who made four appearances in relief, was selected as the relief pitcher. C.J. Cron, Corey Shimada and Jordan Whatcott were all named to the All-Tournament team.
Shimada went 3-for-4 with two runs in the title game, with Yagi, Cron and Michael Beltran each recording two hits.
The Utes used four pitchers, as Bennett Askew made his first appearance in the tournament with his first start of the season. He pitched 2.2 innings with three strikeouts. Stephen Streich pitched 2.2 innings, Greg Krause went 1.2 innings in his fourth relief appearance of the tournament, while Brian Budrow saw his second-straight relief appearance, closing out the game by pitching the final two innings. Krause picked up the win to go to 2-4 on the year, with both wins coming in the tournament.
"What a tremendous feat that our guys accomplished the whole week," head 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. The mental toughness of our team really showed this week and the determination that they had coming into the conference tournament was evident through their energy level.
"I'm most proud of our team in the resiliency of coming back after Thursday night's loss and playing the best baseball that we have played all year. I really think the guys were determined not to let this opportunity to win a championship go by. They bounced back all year through some very tough losses and never quit. We live to play another day."
Although both teams led off the game with hits, the contest remained scoreless until the third inning when Utah pushed six runs across the plate to take a 6-0 lead. Rallying with two outs, Corey Shimada reached base when he was hit by Ryan O'Sullivan's pitch and Yagi singled through the left side to put two runners on base. Nick Kuroczko put the first run on the board with a single through the right side with the runners moving. Cron loaded up the bases when he was hit in the helmet by the pitch, setting up Walker's single through the left side to score Yagi. Austin Jones followed that up with a double that was just fair down the right field line past first baseman Jomel Torres to send two runners across the plate and Rick Cornu cleared the bases with a two RBI single to right field before Cooper Blanc grounded out to end the inning.
SDSU got on the board in the bottom of the third, after Easton Gust doubled to deep center to lead off the inning, scoring on Brandon Meredith's two-out double to right field. Utah came back in the top of the fourth to plate two runs. Beltran and Shimada singled to lead off the inning, with Beltran scoring on Yagi's second hit of the game, a single up the middle. Shimada crossed the plate after an RBI double by Cron, giving Utah an 8-1 lead.
The Aztecs attempted a rally in the sixth inning with Corey Vaughn drawing a leadoff walk, stealing second and scoring when O'Sullivan singled to left field. Matt Parker put two on with one out before Krause forced the next two batters into ground outs to get out of the inning.
Utah added an insurance run in the top of the seventh, as Cornu was hit by the pitch and scored after back-to-back singles from Blanc and Beltran.
SDSU threatened to put a few on the board in the eighth after O'Sullivan and Parker had back-to-back singles to lead off the inning. Budrow forced the next two batters into outs before Torres singled to right field to drive in O'Sullivan. Meredith was hit by the pitch to load up the bases, but Budrow got out of the inning forcing Brandon Castro, who was one of the Aztecs top hitters during the tournament, into a ground out to second to end the inning.
Although SDSU had a two-out single in the ninth, Budrow struck out Parker to end the game and clinch the victory for the Utes.