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Eric Lane and the Zags improve their home record to 13-2 on the year.
Courtesy: Torrey Vail

No. 30 Zags Beat Cougars Again; Extend Win Streak To Six Games

Courtesy: Gonzaga Athletics
          Release: 04/17/2012
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SPOKANE, Wash. - The 30th-ranked Gonzaga University baseball team scored three runs in the fifth inning and two runs each in the sixth and seventh to complete a 7-4 come-from-behind win over in-state rival Washington State University in front of 1,054 fans Tuesday evening. With the win, the Bulldogs (26-9) extend their win streak to six games.

Royce Bolinger and Steven Halcomb both delivered a key two-run base hit to help the Bulldogs take down the Cougars (18-15). Bolinger and Eric Lane led the hitting column with three hits each, Halcomb and Marco Gonzales added two while Maxx Garrett had a single.

Starter Kenny Smith received a no-decision after allowing three runs, two earned, on four hits and four walks in 4 1/3 innings. Despite walking and striking out three batters each, Derek Callahan (2-1) received the win after holding the Cougars scoreless in 1 2/3 innings of work. Derek Peterson threw two shutout frames before handing the ball to Zach Abbruzza in the ninth inning to shut the door.

The Cougars would jump on board in the second inning. After Smith walked the leadoff hitter, a one-out single to right field followed by a fielding error on the play allowed the runner to score the first run of the game. The Cougars would take a 2-0 lead in the third inning when the leadoff hitter reached on a base hit followed by another single and an error by the Bulldogs to allow the run to score. The Cougars would add their third run on a leadoff home run to left field.

Early in the game, the Bulldogs tried to hit toward open gaps but were robbed of base hits by good defense from the Cougars. The Bulldogs finally broke through the Cougars defense in the fifth inning. With two outs, Garrett and Lane hit back-to-back singles and Gonzales brought Garrett home with a single to right field. The Bulldogs erased the Cougars lead when Bolinger hit a two-run double down the left field line to tie the game 3-3 and ending Cougar starter Kyle Swannack's outing.

Washington State's Scott Simon (2-2) would come in and get Clayton Eslick to fly out to center field to end the inning, but in the sixth inning, the Bulldogs took advantage of two defensive errors to put themselves ahead. Andy Hunter led off the inning reaching on a fielding error by the shortstop and a one-out base hit by Halcomb setup a runner in scoring position. After Slavin flew out to left field for the second out, Garrett popped up toward left field but another fielding error by the shortstop allowed the inning to not only continue, bring Hunter home from second base. Lane would punish the Cougars for the defensive mistakes by hitting a RBI single to left center field to give the Bulldogs a 5-3 lead.

The Bulldogs continued to put runs on the board in the seventh inning. Bolinger led off with a single to right center field and Eslick moved him into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. After Hunter was intentionally walked, Stanford would load the bases by winning a free pass to first base. Halcomb punished the Cougars for loading the bases by hitting a two-run single to right center field and give the Bulldogs a 7-3 lead.

Abbruzza would allow a run for the first time since his start at the University of Arkansas March 14, but the freshman held the Cougars down to secure the win for the Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs will head to the Bay Area to resume West Coast Conference play at defending champions University of San Francisco this weekend. The three-game series begins Friday at 3 p.m.

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