Cory LeBrun Pushes Zags Over Tigers In 5-4 Thriller
STOCKTON, Calif. – Cory LeBrun singled in the game winning run Sunday as the Gonzaga University baseball claimed its second consecutive series over a West Coast Conference opponent by defeating University of the Pacific 5-4 at Klein Family Field.
Having not scored since the second inning, GU (9-13, 5-1 WCC) entered the ninth tied at four with the Tigers. Caleb Wood hit a leadoff single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Payden Cawley Lamb. UOP’s reliever Michael Benson then intentionally walked Jimmy Sinatro in hopes of turning a double play.
Next batter, Sam Brown, flied out to center field but Wood advanced to third base on the play. LeBrun then stepped in and on a 2-2 count singled up the middle to bring in the go-ahead run.
For LeBrun, the hit was one of redemption. In the fifth inning he batted in a similar position (runners on the corners) but hit into an inning ending double play.
The Tigers threatened to send the game into extra innings in the bottom frame. A Pacific single and hit batter put runners on for Taylor Murphy. However, right-handed pitcher Sean-Luke Brija dug deep and struck out Murphy in three pitches to end the game.
Brija was credited with the win after working the final 1.2 innings. Right-hander Andrew Sopko made the start for the Zags and delivered 7.0 innings allowing four runs on seven hits. Senior Kenny Smith made his ninth appearance of the year and retired one batter.
Pacific’s Benson took the loss.
The Zags jumped on the Tigers starter Will Lydon early in the game to take a 4-2 lead through the first two innings. In the first, Mitchell Gunsolus scored on a Sinatro fielder’s choice. The three-runs in the second scored on a Gunsolus single, a Lamb walk and a Sinatro sacrifice fly.
Sinatro led the GU bats by going 2-for-3 with 2 RBI. Also with two hits were Gunsolus, Wood and LeBrun.
Gonzaga picks up WCC play next weekend as they host Loyola Marymount University for its home opener Friday. Prior to the three-game series with the Lions, the Zags head to Seattle to take on in-state rival University of Washington for a midweek Tuesday at 5 p.m.