He is correct. It was scoreless through four and a half innings with the Cardinal's Chris Castellanos facing off against Maverik Buffo. Castellanos was brilliant, finishing off a complete game, allowing four hits, striking out three and walking none. He was dominant, retiring 11 batters in a row at one point and entering the ninth with a two-hitter going.
"He doesn't give you anything to hit," Littlewood said. "[He] doesn't throw anything over the middle of the plate. It's a three-pitch mix. He throws any pitch when he wants. A good change-up is just a game-changer. He was probably better than the scouting report said.
"He might have given us two or three pitches to hit [all day]."
Said Shaver of his home run, "It was a fastball and it was probably the one pitch he missed to me the entire night. The rest of the day, he was really good about locating his fastball in and out, and with his change-up, locating it away."
It was the first complete game win for a Stanford pitcher since 2015.
Buffo nearly matched him until he was touched for three runs in the sixth. The big blow was a two-run home run on a 3-2 fastball to Jack Klein that broke a 1-1 tie.
"Everything felt good," Buffo said. "I just wanted to take the approach I've had the last few weeks. Just go right at guys, trust what's called and trust that pitch and take it to them. I didn't want to go in there scared of them, I wanted to go right at them."
Buffo went 62⁄3 innings, allowing four runs (one of which came in after he left) on six hits with five strikeouts against two walks.
Buffo said the fastball Klein was a location mistake. There weren't many out of the 121 pitches he threw.
Quinn Brodey's two-run homer in the seventh off of reliever Riley Gates broke the game open, making it 5-1. Daniel Bakst followed with a solo shot to center to make it 6-1.
The Cardinal then scored three more in the eighth against a trio of relievers. The Cougars finished the year 38-21.
"We were waiting for that breakthrough team to get us to that regional," said Littlewood, who completed his fifth year as head coach at his alma mater. "Every year, we want to put a regional-quality team on the field. It takes more than talent, it takes the will to win, the will to compete and these guys have it.
"I'd take their will and determination over any team I've had."
Added Buffo, "Those early mornings in the fall, this is what we worked for."
R BYU's first NCAA appearance in 15 years comes to an end.
• Colton Shaver's fifth-inning home run gives the Cougars a 1-0 lead.
• The Cardinal hit three homers to blow game open.