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Tyler Olson threw 124 pitches in 8 2/3 innings Friday.
Courtesy: Torrey Vail

Olson Strikes Out Career-High 11 Batters In Zags Loss To LMU

Courtesy: Gonzaga Athletics
          Release: 04/27/2012
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SPOKANE, Wash. - The Gonzaga University baseball team put runs on the board early but couldn't hold on to the lead as Loyola Marymount University slowly came back and defeated the Bulldogs 5-4 in the West Coast Conference series opener Friday evening.

Steven Halcomb led the effort by recording three of the Bulldogs (26-13, 6-7 WCC) 15 hits, including a RBI double. Andy Hunter, Brock Slavin and Clayton Eslick also added two base hits while Eslick stretched one of his hits into a double.

Tyler Olson (4-1) suffered his first loss of the season after allowing all five runs in 8 2/3 innings of work. Although he surrendered seven hits and three walks, the senior struck out a career-high 11 batters in his outing, besting his previous mark of 10 set last season.

The Bulldogs got on the board in the first inning with two out when Eslick doubled down the right field line and Royce Bolinger won a free pass to first base to setup back-to-back RBI singles by Alex Stanford and Andy Hunter for a 2-0 lead.

In his collegiate debut, Mitchell Gunsolus led off the second inning with a base hit to center field. After Maxx Garrett moved him to second base with a sacrifice bunt and Marco Gonzales reached on a base hit, Halcomb sent a pitch down the left field line for a RBI double to give the Bulldogs a 3-0 lead.

After going hitless in the first three innings, the Lions (20-17, 8-5 WCC) got their first base hit with two out after a slow roller down the left field line left untouched stayed fair. The Lions would then use back-to-back base hits to bring their first run of the game.

With one out in the visitor's half of the fifth inning, Olson would run into trouble again after he hit a batter and surrendered a walk. An RBI single through the left side would cut the Bulldogs lead to one.

The Lions would tie the game 3-3 with a solo shot in the sixth inning, but the Bulldogs would get the lead back in their half of the frame. With one out, Halcomb sent a line drive to left side where the second baseman made a diving effort to catch the ball but couldn't keep it in his glove. After Eslick singled to right field to end Lion starter Colin Welmon's day, Bolinger delivered a RBI single through the left side to break the tie and give the Bulldogs a 4-3 lead.

Loyola Marymount would tie the game again with a leadoff home run in the eighth inning and in the ninth, it used a leadoff base hit, a sacrifice bunt and a RBI single to take a 5-4 lead.

The Bulldogs looked to get something going in the ninth inning when Alex Bonczyk led off with a single to right center field. After back-to-back strikeouts, pinch-hitter Payden Cawley Lamb got on base as the potential winning run when he was hit by the pitch. Gonzales hit a grounder off the pitcher's glove, but the second baseman was able to field the ball and make a good throw to first to force out Gonzales to end the game.

The Bulldogs will be making their debut on national television Saturday as ESPNU will telecast game two of the WCC series. First pitch is at 7 p.m.

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