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Steven Halcomb and the Bulldogs improved to 23-9, 4-3 in the WCC.
Courtesy: Torrey Vail

Halcomb Breaks Tie In Eighth; Zags Take Game One Over Broncos

Courtesy: Gonzaga Athletics
          Release: 04/13/2012
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SPOKANE, Wash.  - Steven Halcomb's RBI single broke a 2-2 tie in the eighth inning and the Gonzaga University baseball team held Santa Clara University down in the ninth to win the West Coast Conference series opener 4-2 in front of 1,388 fans Friday evening.

While Halcomb and Andy Hunter each had a pair of hits, Alex Stanford and Clayton Eslick each hit a home run while Brock Slavin brought home an insurance run with his only base hit on the evening.

Starter Tyler Olson struck out two batters in 6 1/3 innings, and of the nine hits the Broncos (18-13, 1-6 WCC) recorded off him, a two-run home run was their only extra base hit on the evening.

Derek Peterson (3-0) struck out two batters in 1 2/3 innings of work and Zach Abbruzza earned his fifth save on the year after only punching out two in one inning.

Bronco starter Tommy Nance struck out three and allowed two runs in 7 1/3 innings. Max Deering (0-1) suffered his first loss of the season after allowing two runs in 1/3 of an inning.

The Bulldogs (23-9, 4-3 WCC) broke the ice in the second inning when Stanford led off with a home run to left center field. The Broncos would get on board and take the lead after Olson surrendered a leadoff walk followed by the two-run shot to left field. The Broncos lead didn't last long as Eslick's one-out solo blast to right field tied the game 2-2.

Santa Clara threatened to take the lead in the seventh inning after a leadoff walk followed by a base hit put a runner in scoring position. After the next batter failed to move the runners over with a sacrifice bunt, Peterson would come in looking to hold the Broncos. After he got the first batter he faced to strike out, Garrett caught the runner attempting to steal third right after to end the inning.

With two outs in the eighth inning, Deering would enter the game retiring Eslick before hitting Stanford by the pitch and surrendering a walk to Hunter to end his short outing. After Paul Twining checked in, Halcomb sent a pitch to right center field deep enough for Stanford to slide in home for the go-ahead run and move Hunter to third base. Slavin followed with a base hit through the left side to bring in the insurance run.

Peterson would open the ninth hitting the leadoff hitter before handing the ball to Abbruzza. Although an error on a pickoff attempt moved the runner into scoring position, Abbruzza would get the first batter he faced to fly out to left field, and with the help of the crowd, he shut the door with back-to-back strikeouts.

Friday night's attendance was the third highest in the history of the Patterson Baseball Complex and Washington Trust Field, which opened in 2007.

The Bulldogs and Broncos will return to the field for game two of the three-game series Saturday at 3 p.m.
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