Riley Ornido pitches at Dante Benedetti Diamond early this season. (Courtesy / USF Dons Baseball)

College Baseball: Playoff hopes dim for San Francisco as Dons drop two to BYU

The University of San Francisco baseball team’s late-season slide continued this weekend, as the Dons dropped two out of three games in a home series with BYU, further lowering their chances of reaching the WCC Tournament.

As sharp as Thomas Ponticelli and Riley Ornido have been on the mound this year for USF, both struggled against the Cougars as the Dons dropped the first two games, 9-2 and 9-7. Canadian pitcher Landen Bourassa’s gem salvaged the series finale for San Francisco (26-26, 15-12), which has now lost three series in a row.

Bourassa came two outs shy of a complete game, allowing just two ninth-inning runs while striking out five without issuing a walk. Grant Goodman came in to record the final two outs and seal the 6-2 victory, a win that was comfortably in hand from the early goings, with Riley Helland’s three-run blast in the first-inning holding up for the hosts.

USF has finished conference play and will round out the season with four non-conference games, hosting UC Davis on Tuesday and Kansas State Thursday through Saturday.

The Dons and their fans will keep their eyes on the scoreboard, needing other WCC games to fall into place to ensure a top-four conference finish, which would mean a trip to the conference tournament, set for May 24-26 at Stockton’s Banner Island Ballpark.

Two more losses by any of Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s or Loyola Marymount would do the trick. Through Saturday’s play, the Bulldogs and Gaels each have 10 conference losses, and USF owns head-to-head tiebreakers with each of them. LMU swept the Dons in mid-April, starting their downturn.

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