Gonzales, Offense Lift Bulldogs To 13-3 Win Over Illinois
BEAUMONT, Texas - The Gonzaga University baseball team got stellar performances from the offense and starting pitcher Marco Gonzales to beat the University of Illinois 13-3 in game one of a doubleheader Friday.
Gonzales (1-0) struck out seven batters and allowed only one run on six hits in eight innings of work. Leadoff hitter Eric Lane led the Bulldog offense by recording five of the Bulldogs (4-0) 20-game hitting explosion, including a double, three runs and two RBI. He also extended his hitting streak to eight games to match his career-best at Gonzaga.
Lane got the Bulldogs offense started in the first inning with a single to second base and he advanced to third on two groundouts. After Royce Bolinger walked, Clayton Eslick singled to left field to bring in the first run of the game.
Lane led off the third inning with a double down the left field line for his second hit of the day. Alex Stanford grounded to the shortstop, but he beat the throw for a base hit. The throw though passed the first baseman to allow Lane to score the Bulldogs second run of the game.
The Bulldogs started running away with the lead in the fifth inning. For the third straight at-bat, Lane led off with a base hit to center field and he advanced to third when Stanford reached on a fielding error by the second baseman. Billy Moon hit a fly to right field that was deep enough for Lane to score the Bulldogs third run. After Bolinger reached on a fielder's choice, the Bulldogs scored two runs off of singles by Eslick, Maxx Garrett and Steven Halcomb to take a 5-0 lead.
The Fighting Illini (1-3) was able to break Gonzales' shutout in the seventh inning. Gonzales allowed a leadoff double and following a ground out to Cameron Alvarado, the Fighting Illini got on the board with a sacrifice fly to the center fielder Alex Bonczyk.
In the Bulldogs half of the seventh, Bolinger led off with a walk and Eslick and Garrett followed with back-to-back singles to load the bases. After Halcomb flied out, Hunter hit a two-run double to left field and Bonczyk hit a RBI ground out to the pitcher. Lane singled to right field to bring Hunter home from third base and give Gonzaga a 9-0 lead.
Gonzales ran into trouble in the eighth inning. The Fighting Illini hit three straight singles off of him to load the bases, but Gonzales maintained his composure as he got the next batter to hit a grounder to him to setup for a double play from home plate to first base. He struck out the next batter to end the inning without allowing a run.
The Bulldogs did more damage one inning later. Bolinger, leading off for the second straight inning, doubled down the left field line and after he advanced to third on a wild pitch, pinch-hitter Brock Slavin brought him home with a double to center field. Like Bolinger, Slavin moved to third on a wild pitch and pinch-hitter Travis Forbes doubled down the right field to bring in the Bulldogs 11th run of the game.
After Halcomb was hit by the pitch and Hunter singled to load the bases, Forbes scored on Bonczyk's fielder's choice to the third baseman. With two out and runners on first and second, Lane singled down the left field line deep enough for Hunter to score from second base and give the Bulldogs a 13-1 lead.