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Andy Hunter had two hits and scored two of the Bulldogs seven runs Friday evening.
Courtesy: Explosive Illusions

Bulldogs Pull Away Late To Beat Huskers In Season-Opener

Courtesy: Gonzaga Athletics
          Release: 02/17/2012
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PEORIA, Ariz. - The Gonzaga University baseball team used a three-run eighth inning to beat the University of Nebraska 7-4 in each team's season-opener at the Peoria Sports Complex Friday evening.

Derek Peterson picked up the win in his collegiate debut after throwing two shutout innings of relief and Zach Abbruzza, who also made his collegiate debut, went the rest of the way by throwing two shutout frames to earn his first save.

Starter Marco Gonzales received a no-decision after going five innings, allowing the four runs, three earned, and striking out four.

Eric Lane, Clayton Eslick, Alex Stanford and Steven Halcomb each recorded two of the Bulldogs 12 hits.

The Bulldogs got on the scoreboard first in the second inning. With one out, Hunter and Stanford hit back-to-back singles to the outfield and Halcomb's base hit to center field was deep enough for Hunter to reach home safely from second base to give Gonzaga a 1-0 lead.

Travis Forbes, in his Bulldog debut, led off the third inning with a walk and was able to score the Bulldogs second run of the evening on Maxx Garrett's two-out RBI double to center field.

Gonzales held the Huskers scoreless for the first two innings but ran into trouble in the third. He issued a walk to start the inning and following a sacrifice bunt, a fly out and a hit-by-pitch, the Huskers got on the board with a RBI single to right center, cutting the Bulldogs lead to one.

Although the Huskers tied the game 2-2 with a solo home run in the fourth inning, the Bulldogs regained the lead in the sixth. Hunter hit a one-out single through the left side and advanced to third on Halcomb's single down the right center. Payden Cawley Lamb hit a RBI single down the right field line to give the Bulldogs a 3-2 lead.

But the lead didn't last long as the Huskers answered back in their half of the fourth inning with a leadoff home run to left field off of Gonzales. Peterson entered the game after Gonzales surrendered a single to left field, and with two out and runners on first and second, the Huskers grabbed their first lead of the night on a hit and an error to left field.

Eslick hit a pinch-hit double to left field to leadoff the seventh inning and advanced to third on Billy Moon's groundout to first. With Royce Bolinger at the plate, Eslick reached home safely on a pass ball to tie the game 4-4.

In the Bulldogs half of the eighth inning, Stanford led off with a single to the pitcher, advanced to second on Halcomb's sacrifice bunt and to third on Eslick's groundout to the shortstop. Lane hit the eventual game-winning RBI single to right field, but the Bulldogs were not done. After Moon's walk loaded the bases, Bolinger reached base safely on a bad throw by the shortstop, allowing Eslick and Lane to score.

The Bulldogs and the Huskers return to the field for game two Saturday at 6 p.m.

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