Fast Start Propels Zags To 9-3 Victory Over UNLV
STOCKTON, Calif. - With preseason first-team All-American pitcher Marco Gonzales on the mound, Gonzaga University baseball downed UNLV 9-3 in its opening game of the Pacific Baseball Invitational at Klein Family Field Friday. Gonzaga improved to 3-2 and UNLV fell to 4-2.
"This was a very good team win," head coach Mark Machtolf said. "We had a great performance from Marco accompanied with a solid defensive effort behind him."
Gonzales (1-1) went seven strong innings allowing just six hits and one run. The lefty from Fort Collins, Colo., struck out eight batters and lowered his season ERA to 4.15 after a tough outing against Oregon State University last weekend.
The Bulldogs would take an early lead on the Rebels to never look back.
The Zags loaded the bases in the bottom of the first inning when Gonzales helped his own cause with a sacrifice fly to left. Then Zach Abbruzza, Billy Moon and Cabe Reiten ran off three consecutive singles to drive in three more runs. Through the first inning, the Bulldogs led 4-0.
Gonzaga added another in the fourth inning. Mitchell Gunsolus singled to left to bring home Moon, who got on base after being hit by a pitch, to give GU a 5-0 edge.
"We are very impressed with how our offense did all the little things in the right order to produce runs," Machtolf said. "The guys did it throughout the entire game."
UNLV got on the scoreboard in the top of the sixth. With two outs, Mark Shannon and Brandon Bayardi hit back-to-back singles to get runners on first and second. Rebel Erik Vanmeetren singled to left to drive in Shannon, but Gonzales would end the threat by getting a weak grounder hit to Reiten at second base for a routine play.
The Bulldogs would distance themselves in the seventh and eighth when they put up four more runs.
Steven Halcomb scored on a passed ball and Abbruzza would single in another. Abbruzza's two RBI added to his team-high of five.
In the eighth, Halcomb would triple to left field to drive in Gunsolus and Alex Bonczyk. Halcomb also finished the game with two RBI.
Gonzaga continues play in the Pacific Baseball Invitational Saturday with a doubleheader. Tyler Olson will be on the hill in the morning contest against UNLV at noon followed by Andrew Sopko making his collegiate debut in the nightcap against the University of the Pacific.