Machtolf Era Opens With A Bang
Feb. 13, 2004
SURPRISE, Ariz. - The Gonzaga University Bulldogs opened the Mark Machtolf baseball era off with a bang Friday afternoon as the Bulldogs (1-0) rolled over the University of Oklahoma (0-1) during the season opener for both clubs. Gonzaga pounded out 15 hits and took advantage of a 7-run sixth inning to cruise to a 15-5 win over the Sooners at the 2004 Coca-Cola Baseball Classic in Surprise, Ariz. GU will face Oregon State University on Saturday afternoon, the Beavers 8-6 winners of the University of Utah in the tournament's opening game.
Gonzaga jumped on the board first as the Bulldogs took advantage of three Oklahoma errors to load the bases before sophomore catcher Kiel Thibault drove home two of his five runs with single to center. GU would end the inning with a 3-0 advantage before even taking the field on defense.
OU crept back into the contest scoring two runs in the bottom of the second and two more in the bottom of the third against Bulldogs starter Eric Dworkis (1-0). Brenan Herrera drove home the first Sooners run with a sacrifice fly in the second followed by Kyle Bradburry scoring on a wild pitch. Oklahoma's two runs in the third both scored on errors as the Bulldogs committed four errors behind Dworkis. The junior right-hander worked into the sixth inning allowing only five hits with all five Sooners runs unearned. Nate Williams tossed 3.2 innings of one-hit relief behind Dworkis to pick up his save and preserve the Bulldogs victory.
The Bulldogs tied the game in the fourth on a Chris Sinner RBI and then took the lead for good on a Matt Reding RBI single to center in the fifth. Oklahoma starter Mark Roberts (0-1) was lifted to start the sixth inning and the Gonzaga bats came alive scoring 7 runs on 7 hits, the biggest shot a two-run bases loaded single by freshman Aaron McGuinness. Jeff Culpepper, Mike Rundle, David Johnson, Thibault and Jackson Brennan also drove in runs during the Bulldogs big inning.
Five Gonzaga players all collected two or more hits with Thibault going 3-for-4 with a triple and 5 RBI. Brennan, Culpepper, Reding and Chris Sinner all finished with two hits for GU. Jeff Scuderi was the only Oklahoma player to collect multiple hits going 2-for-3 with one of the Sooners two RBI.
The game marked the start of the head coaching career for Gonzaga skipper Mark Machtolf. An 11-year assistant with the Bulldogs program, Machtolf was promoted to the head coaching position on August 7, 2003 when long-time head coach Steve Hertz moved into an administrative position with the athletic department.
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