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News ReleaseFORT 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."
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 Cron hit his second double of the game to score Shimada.
Utah 9, San Diego State 3 (May 23, 2009 at Fort Worth, Texas)
Utah................ 006 200 100 - 9 15 0 (26-29) San Diego State..... 001 001 010 - 3 12 0 (40-21)
Pitchers: Utah - ASKEW, Bennett; STREICH, Stephen(3); KRAUSE, Greg(6); BUDROW, Brian(8). San Diego State - O'SULLIVAN, Ryan; RASMUSSEN, Craig(4). Win-KRAUSE, Greg(2-4) Loss-O'SULLIVAN, Ryan(4-4) T-3:08 A-914 Weather: Cloudy and Breezy
(Courtesy University of Utah)