Zags Rally for Extra-Innings Win at UCLA
Feb. 24, 2017
LOS ANGELES--After being held scoreless through the first eight innings, the Gonzaga baseball team scored one run in the ninth and one more in the 10th for a 2-1 extra-innings win at UCLA Friday night.
The Zags evened the game in the top of the ninth inning. Tyler Frost led the frame with a single to left field, and he advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Justin Jacobs. A wild pitch from UCLA reliever Justin Hooper put Frost on third base, and the center fielder came home on an RBI groundout from Gunnar Schubert.
After reliever Sam Hellinger kept the Bruins off the scoreboard in the bottom of the ninth, the Zags took the lead on Troy Johnston's first career single. He ripped a 2-2 pitch into left field, allowing Jake Roberts to score from second base. The Bulldog catcher led the frame off with a four-pitch walk and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. After Johnston's base knock, Jeff Bohling also singled to load the bases, but a pop up and a fly out ended the inning.
Zag closer Wyatt Mills came on to pitch the bottom of the tenth. The senior allowed a single and a sacrifice bunt but retired the next two batters, including a strikeout of UCLA third baseman Ryan Kreidler to end the game.
Both starters held the offenses in check through the first two thirds of the game. Gonzaga righty Eli Morgan turned in a quality start, striking out seven and allowing just five hits through six innings. Bruin shortstop Nick Valaika began the bottom of the second with a solo home run, but that was all Morgan let cross the plate; he left six runners stranded on base. UCLA starter Griffin Canning was even better, throwing seven innings of shutout ball. The junior struck out 12 batters, and the Zags managed two hits: a Sam Brown single to begin the game, and a single from Patrick Chung to begin the sixth inning. In the first inning, the Zags actually got a pair of base-runners after Frost drew a two-out walk, but Canning ended the threat with a strikeout.
Once the starters were taken out of the game, the game opened up a bit, but the Zags only got their ninth-inning run and UCLA didn't plate any. UCLA put runners on the corners in both the seventh and the eighth innings, but Hellinger got out of both innings. In the top of the eighth, Nick Brooks led off with a pinch-hit double, giving the Zags a runner in scoring position. He then gave way for pinch runner Parker Price, who advanced to third on a wild pitch with two outs before a strikeout ended the threat.
Hellinger drew the win - his first of the season - for Gonzaga after 3.0 scoreless innings in the seventh, eighth, and ninth. Mills earned his second save of 2017, and the Bruins' Brian Gadsby suffered his second loss of the year.
Mac Talk: Thoughts from Gonzaga head coach Mark Machtolf
"It was an all-around good performance on the mound. Morgan was very good, exactly what we expect of him on Friday nights. Hellinger came in and got the job done. He's steady and he competes every pitch. And for Mills to finish it off, it was a good night for our pitchers."
The Bulldogs (3-2) and Bruins (2-2) continue the three-game series on Saturday, Feb. 25, at 2:00 p.m. Gonzaga will turn to right-hander Justin Vernia on the mound, while fellow righty Jake Bird will toe the rubber for UCLA.
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