Morgan Fans 12 as GU Downs Cal 5-2
March 3, 2017
BERKELEY, Calif.—Gonzaga ace Eli Morgan pitched a gem Friday night, striking out a career high 12 batters in the Bulldogs’ 5-2 win over California at Evans Diamond in Berkeley, Calif.
Morgan was electric in his best start of the year, striking out 12 batters – six looking – and allowing just one run on three hits for the win. He fanned eight alone in the first three innings, striking out the side in the first and the third and sitting down two in the second. The Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., native also stranded five runners in seven innings of work, and he retired the final seven batters he faced.
The Gonzaga offense, meanwhile, gave Morgan a lead in the third and again in the fifth. Left fielder Sam Brown brought in the first two runs, ripping a third-inning single into left field to plate Patrick Chung and hitting an RBI grounder in the fifth that allowed Jake Roberts to score. The senior leadoff hitter reached base four times Friday night, collecting three singles and getting hit by a pitch.
Gonzaga added three runs in the final two innings. Pinch hitter Parker Price drove in the first of those in the eighth with a single up the middle. The base knock was his first collegiate hit. The Bulldogs added two more in the ninth when the first two batters – Brown and Jeff Bohling – both reached base. They advanced 90 feet on a sacrifice bunt from Tyler Frost, and Justin Jacobs drove them both home with a double to right center.
Cal got its first run of the game in the fourth. Right fielder Jeffrey Mitchell, Jr., led the bottom half of the frame off with a solo home run, but Morgan retired the next three batters to end the inning. The home team added an unearned run in the ninth off reliever Sam Hellinger. The tally came on a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded, but closer Wyatt Mills struck out center fielder Jonah Davis to clinch the game.
With the win, Morgan advanced to 1-1 on the year for the Bulldogs (4-4), and Mills picked up his third save. Dodson took the loss and fell to 0-3 for California (2-6).
Mac Talk: Thoughts from Gonzaga head coach Mark Machtolf
The Bulldogs and Golden Bears resume the four-game series with a double-header Saturday, March 4. First pitch in game one will now be at 12:05 p.m., two hours earlier than previously scheduled due to anticipated rain in the area. LHP Mac Lardner and Cal RHP Jared Horn will square off in game one, while RHP Justin Vernia takes the mound for the Zags in game two. California has yet to announce a second starter.
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