Bulldogs And Arizona State End Tied At 6
SURPRISE, Ariz. - For the second consecutive game, Gonzaga University baseball rallied in the 8th inning, in an eventual 6-6 tie, against No. 24 Arizona State University in the finale of the Coca-Cola Classic Sunday night in Surprise Stadium. The game was called after the 8th inning due a travel curfew that was agreed upon before the game between both teams.
"Today we battled and showed a lot of grit," head coach Mark Machtolf said. "It was a long day and we preserved against a ranked opponent. Both sides battled until the final out and we were able to hit the ball into some holes late in the game."
With the tie, the Zags go 2-0-1 in the Coca-Cola Classic and are 6-4-1 overall. ASU goes to 7-2-1.
Gonzaga's last tie came Mar. 20, 2011 against the University of Notre Dame in San Antonio, Texas.
Trailing 5-1 entering the top of the 8th inning, the Bulldogs began its rally with two outs and Steven Halcomb on second base. The next batter Caleb Wood, pitch hitting for Travis Forbes, reached base on an errant throw by the Arizona State third baseman opening the door for GU. Halcomb advanced to third on the throw.
Nicholas Minteer, pitch hitting for Marco Gonzales, connected for his first collegiate hit and RBI with a single up the middle brining home both Halcomb and Wood.
With the margin 5-3 favoring the Sun Devils, another error from the third baseman allowed Cabe Reiten to reach first. Two runners on, senior Clayton Eslick drove a ball to centerfield brining in another Zag.
Now 5-4, ASU dipped into its pitching staff and brought in Matt Dunbar who faced Brock Slavin at the dish. Slavin lined one right back to Dunbar, hitting his leg, shooting the ball up in the air. Arizona State was unable to field the ball once it touched grass, bringing in the tying run and putting runners on first and third.
Mitchell Gunsolus then walked to load the bases full of Zags with Halcomb coming to the plate for a second time in the inning. Dunbar would plunk Halcomb, which advanced all runners, including the go ahead run, and put Gonzaga up 6-5.
ASU escaped the inning with a strikeout.
It did not take long for the Sun Devils to tie the game. The first batter in the bottom of the 8th, Trever Allen, homered to left field tying the game at 6. Gonzaga would retire the next three batters to end the game.
Billy Moon started the game for Gonzaga with Andrew Sopko, David Bigelow, Derek Callahan and Michael Rucker all getting time on the mound.
In all, 20 Bulldogs were involved in the game.
Gonzaga and Arizona State split the Coca-Cola Classic title. Neither team lost and both beat No. 2 University of Arkansas and University of the Pacific.
"It was a good weekend against some very good competition," Machtolf said. "We got to see our team come together and gel a little bit. We got to see who is willing to step up when we play quality competition."
The Zags return to the diamond Friday when it faces the University of Hawaii for the first of a five game set. First pitch is set for 8:35 p.m. PT.