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Billy Moon and the Zags took two of three from Pepperdine this weekend.
Courtesy: Torrey Vail

Eighth-Inning Explosion Leads Zags To Series Win Over Waves

Courtesy: Gonzaga Athletics
          Release: 04/01/2012
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SPOKANE, Wash. - The Gonzaga University baseball team didn't seem to show exhaustion when it had to play a third game in less than 24 hours Sunday. The Bulldogs grabbed the lead in the third inning and an eight-run explosion in the eighth inning secured their 14-3 win over Pepperdine University to clinch the West Coast Conference series.

Billy Moon (3-1) put together another outstanding performance on the mound, striking out six batters and allowing three runs on 11 hits and no walks in 8 1/3 innings pitched. The junior left-hander also picked off a runner on first for the third consecutive outing.

For the second consecutive Sunday, Royce Bolinger hit two home runs in back-to-back at-bats. He also added two base hits and driven in four runs on the afternoon. Andy Hunter had three hits and scored three runs and leadoff hitter Eric Lane went hitless but driven in three runs on a groundout, a sacrifice fly and on a squeeze play. Maxx Garrett had two hits including a double and three RBI.

Waves starter Corey Miller (4-3) went 6 2/3 innings allowing six runs on nine hits and three walks. His successor Andrew Alvarez went 1 1/3 innings and allowed the eight runs in the eighth inning, three were earned.

The Bulldogs (18-7, 2-1 WCC) got off to a slow start when the leadoff hitter reached second base when the wind played with a pop up between third base and the pitcher's mound. Hunter called his teammates off but tripped crossing the pitcher's mound when he was trying to make the catch. Moon would retire the next two batters but a RBI single to right field allowed the Waves (17-11, 1-2 WCC) to score the first run of the game.

Steven Halcomb and Hunter opened the second inning with back-to-back singles, Brock Slavin would follow with a free pass to load the bases and Garrett sent a pitch to left center field for a two-run double. Lane hit a RBI ground out to second base to give the Bulldogs a 3-1 lead.

Hunter was hit by the pitch to open the fourth inning, Slavin would receive another walk and Garrett moved both runners over with a sacrifice bunt. After Lane's fly out to centerfield was caught, Hunter challenged the fielder's arm but the throw to home went offline after it bounced off the mound. Cawley Lamb sent a pitch through Miller's legs and into centerfield, allowing Slavin to score the Bulldogs fifth run in the game.

The Waves would use three single to score its second run in the sixth inning, but the Bulldogs regained the four-run lead when Bolinger led off the seventh inning with his first home run of the day.

Alex Bonczyk led off the eighth-inning explosion reaching base on a throwing error by the Alvarez. He stole second base and would score on back-to-back sacrifice bunts by Garrett and Lane. Cawley Lamb would follow with a base hit through the ride side before Bolinger hit his second homer of the day to left field. Eslick would follow with a walk, Alex Stanford was hit by the pitch and Halcomb would hit a RBI single to centerfield. Hunter would hit a RBI single to centerfield, but a fielding error by the centerfielder allowed the Bulldogs to have runners on second and third base.

Bonczyk would get another turn at the plate in the inning and the junior hit a two-run double to left field. Garrett would bring in the Bulldogs 14th run in the game with a single through the left side.

After Moon surrendered a leadoff single and getting the next batter to fly out to left field, Zach Abbruzza took over and would allow a RBI double in his outing.

The Bulldogs step out of conference play and open up their three-game season series with in-state rival Washington State University Tuesday at 6 p.m. The game will be televised on SWX.

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