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Clayton Eslick's RBI triple in the sixth inning helped the Bulldogs beat Pacific.
Courtesy: Torrey Vail

Zags Snap Losing Skid With Win Over Tigers In Home Opener

Courtesy: Gonzaga Athletics
          Release: 03/16/2012
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SPOKANE, Wash. - Clayton Eslick and Royce Bolinger both had two hits and a RBI and Tyler Olson struck out six batter in 7 1/3 innings to help the Gonzaga University baseball team snap its five-game losing skid with a 6-4 win over the University of the Pacific in the Bulldogs home opener Friday evening.

Olson (2-0) allowed two runs, one earned, on four hits and three walks. Derek Peterson allowed two runs on three hits and a walk in one inning of relief and David Bigelow shut the door in the ninth for his first career save.

Travis Forbes also recorded a double while Eric Lane and Marco Gonzales both drove in a run.

Although Forbes' one-out double in the home half of second inning with their first hit of the game, the Bulldogs (11-5) got the first run of the game in the next inning. Billy Moon led off the inning with a single up the middle, Maxx Garrett moved him to second with a sacrifice bunt and Lane brought in the run with a single up the middle.

The Tigers (3-14) got on the board in the sixth inning. The third baseman Lane allowed the leadoff runner to reach safely on a fielding error and the Tigers would use a sacrifice bunt, a fly out to center field to move the runner to third base. The next batter hit a grounder through the right side, the second baseman Alex Stanford made a diving stop but couldn't get the ball out of his glove to complete the putout and allow the Tigers to tie the game 1-1. Olson would load the bases on a walk but the senior got out of the jam by getting the next batter to line out to the first baseman Gonzales.

The Bulldogs got the lead back and added more in their half of the sixth inning. Stanford drew a four-pitch walk to lead off and Eslick's triple down the right field line broke the tie as Stanford reached home from first on the play. Bolinger followed with a RBI double to right field to give the Zags a 3-1 lead. After Forbes struck out, Gonzales hit a foul ball to left field on the first pitch delivered to him, but the left fielder dropped the ball to allow Gonzales to continue his at-bat. The sophomore took advantage by hitting a RBI single through the right side to bring in Bolinger from second base for the fourth run of the game.

In the eighth inning, Olson surrendered a leadoff single before handing the ball to Peterson. Peterson walked the first batter he faced and a balk called on him allowed both runners to move into scoring position. The Tigers would use a ground out and a single to bring in the two runs and cut Gonzaga's lead in half. Peterson got out of the inning by picking off the runner on first.

The Bulldogs would get the two runs back in their half of the eighth inning. Alex Bonczyk, who came into the game for Forbes as a defensive substitution in the seventh inning, led off with a walk. Gonzales moved him over with a sacrifice bunt but the pitcher bobbled the ball to allow Gonzales reach safely. Halcomb with another sacrifice bunt, Moon struck out laying down a bunt, but a wild pitch allowed Bonczyk to score. Garrett would pop up to the middle infield but the second baseman dropped the ball to let the inning continue and give the Zags a 6-3 lead.

Peterson had a bit of trouble putting the game away in the ninth inning. After getting the leadoff hitter to ground out, Peterson would hit the next batter and allow back-to-back singles to cut Gonzaga's lead to two. Bigelow would come in after and get the two batters he faced to fly out to Moon in left field and ground out to Halcomb to end the game.

The Bulldogs and Tigers will play the middle game of the three-game series Saturday at 6 p.m.

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