Baseball Wins Both Games And Series Against Portland
PORTLAND, ORE. – After Friday’s scheduled game was suspended due to rain, Gonzaga University baseball returned and swept both Saturday games over the University of Portland at Joe Etzel Field. The Zags won the resumed game 5-4 and took the afternoon contest 4-1.
The victories boost Gonzaga’s record to 19-10-1 overall and 7-4 in the West Coast Conference. Portland falls to 12-19 overall and is an even 4-4 in the WCC.
The Bulldogs have won eight consecutive games against Portland.
Friday’s game was called in fourth inning with the score tied at 3 with starters Marco Gonzales (4-2) and Portland’s Travis Radke each pitching the three innings of play.
The Zags scored two runs in the first. One on the first of the Pilots seven errors in the game and the second on a pick off of Steven Halcomb at first base which allowed a run to score. Gonzales hit an RBI double in the third for the third GU run.
Halcomb also made his return to the Gonzaga lineup since March 17 after missing 11 games with an injury.
Portland tied the game in the bottom of the third when the rain started to come down. Caleb Whelan singled in two runs and Kramer Scott hit an RBI double to knot it up. The game was suspended after the inning.
Picking up the action Saturday, Arturo Reyes (4-1) took the mound for Gonzaga and Billy Sahlinger for Portland.
The Pilots took a 5-4 lead in the sixth but the Zag offense responded with the tying and winning run in the top of the seventh. Pilots catcher Beau Fraser made a throwing error trying to throw out a stealing LeBrun at second base which allowed Mitchell Gunsolus to score from third. Clayton Eslick would then connect for a pitch-hit single to center bringing home the go-ahead run.
Reyes picked up the win in a strong relief appearance for the Bulldogs. The Warden, Wash., native threw all six innings allowing just four hits, one unearned run while striking out nine. He lowered his team-best ERA to 1.30.
Game two was a pitching duel between Zag Tyler Olson (5-2) and Pilot Kurt Yinger. Through the first five innings each pitcher allowed just two hits before the Bulldogs pushed a run across in the sixth.
Alex Bonczyk opened the inning hit a base hit up the middle and advanced to second on a Gunsolus sacrifice bunt. Halcomb singled putting runners on first and second with one out. A double steal advanced both runners and LeBrun would hit a sacrifice fly to right field which brought home Bonczyk.
Yinger escaped the inning on a ground out to second and the Zags would not relinquish the lead.
GU added three more runs to distance themselves even more in the seventh. Cabe Reiten drove in two with a double to left field and advanced to third on a throwing error by the shortstop on the relay home. Reiten scored on a successful squeeze bunt from Bonczyk.
Olson continued to silence the Pilots bats en route to his third complete game of the season. The lefty allowed four hits, one run while striking out 11 Pilots.
By winning both games, Gonzaga wins its third WCC series of the season. The series concludes Sunday as GU goes for the sweep at 1:00 p.m.