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Courtesy: Gonzaga Athletics

Baseball Drops Opener To Utah Valley, UC Riverside On Tap

Courtesy: Gonzaga Athletics
          Release: 02/15/2013
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PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - In the first game of Gonzaga University baseball's Opening Day doubleheader, the Bulldogs fell 6-2 to Utah Valley University at Palm Springs Stadium Friday in the first game of the Palm Springs Tournament.

Sophomore Zach Abbruzza got the starting nod for the Zags. The Redmond, Wash., native went three innings allowing three runs, two of which were earned. Kenny Smith came in relief and went six strong innings allowing three runs.

Leadoff hitter Mitchell Gunsolus picked up the first Bulldog hit of 2013 with a single to left field in the first inning. The sophomore finished the game with three hits and two walks.

A handful of Zags mistakes allowed Utah Valley to take an early lead. A bases loaded walk put the Wolverines up 1-0 in the first inning followed by an overthrow fielding error in the third to give Utah a 2-0 edge.

Utah Valley struck again in the fourth to gain a 5-0 lead. Willie Pratt singled to left to drive in two Wolverines. Pratt  would later score on another throwing error to first.

The Bulldogs got on the board in the fifth inning. Alex Bonczyk and Gunsolus both reached safely to start the inning when Utah Valley pulled its starter, Devin Nelson. Steven Halcomb hit a sacrifice fly to right field and posted the first Zag RBI of the season.

Both squads threatened in the eighth. The Wolverines had runners on first and second before Smith retired Colby Croft with a pop fly to Bonczyk in center field.

 The Bulldogs opportunity came when the first three batters reached base. Senior Clayton Eslick was hit by a pitch, senior Travis Forbes singled to the left side and junior Marco Gonzales singled to center. UVU pitcher Jeff Barto then got sophomore Cory LeBrun to fly out to shallow centerfield which held the runners. Billy Moon flied out to center and Eslick was gunned down at the plate to leave two Zags on base.

Gonzaga tacked a run on in the bottom of the ninth with back-to-back doubles from Gunsolus and Halcomb.

The nightcap of the doubleheader is set to start at 4 p.m. against UC Riverside.

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