Zags Blank Pacific for Second Straight Game
March 18, 2017

Box Score

SPOKANE, Wash.--With an offensive outburst in the second inning and eight strong frames from starter Justin Vernia, the Gonzaga baseball team shut out Pacific for the second straight night, winning 9-0 Saturday night at Patterson Baseball Complex & Washington Trust Field in Spokane.

The Zags got all their offense in the second inning, scoring nine times on eight hits while sending 12 batters to the plate. Daniel Fredrickson led the inning off with a double, and Jake Vieth brought him home with a single up the middle. Then, designated hitter Jace VanDeBrake blasted a 2-2 pitch out to right center, putting the Zags up 3-0. Jeff Bohling and Tyler Frost posted back-to-back RBI singles a few batters later for a 5-0 tally.

Justin Jacobs then singled to load the bases, and Fredrickson, in his second plate appearance of the frame, hit a sacrifice fly to plate Bohling. With two outs, Vieth stepped up to bat again, and he sent an 0-1 pitch over the wall in left center for his second hit and the Zags' seventh, eighth, and ninth runs of the inning.

On the mound, Vernia was strong all game. He pitched eight innings of shutout ball, scattering three hits and two walks while striking out a career-best nine batters. He allowed just one Tiger to reach second base, and he retired the side in order three times, including in the top of the third to hold Pacific down after the Zags' big frame in the second. The Issaquah, Wash., native got the win, his third of the year, and lowered his ERA to below 2.00.

The Zags' defense was also effective. They turned one double play, a 3-6-1 effort to eliminate a leadoff single in the sixth, and Vieth and Nick Nyquist each made strong snags. Vieth made a running attempt in foul territory to put out Preston Moebius in the eighth, and Nyquist made a diving stop at third and then threw out Matt Tarantino for the second out of the ninth inning.

Gonzaga continued to rack up the hits, seeing at least one base knock in seven of their eight times at bat, but they didn't add onto the score past the second inning. Pacific starter Will Lydon pitched 6.0 innings, allowing 12 hits and all nine runs in the loss.

Bulldog Bites:

  • The Zags shut out Pacific for the second straight game; they won 4-0 on March 17. This is the squad's first set of consecutive shutouts since blanking Santa Clara twice in a row during the 2011 season. So far in the series, Gonzaga's pitchers - Vernia, Casey Legumina, and Eli Morgan - have combined to hold Pacific to just four hits and six total baserunners. The Tigers have managed just a 0.70 batting average in the series.
  • Gonzaga's second inning was the first time GU has batted around this season. They last sent 10 men to the plate May 19, 2016, at San Diego. Their nine runs scored Saturday night were the team's second-highest total this season, and their 14 hits were a yearly high.
  • Vieth went 3-for-4, adding another single in the seventh inning. He also tallied four RBIs, the most by a Bulldog so far in 2017. His second-inning home run was the junior's second of the season, and he's tied for second on the team in both home runs and RBIs (11).
  • With the win, the Zags clinched the series win against Pacific. This is the sixth time in the last seven years that Gonzaga has begun the West Coast Conference season with a series win.

Zag Speak:

Gonzaga head coach Mark Machtolf

  • "Overall, this was probably our most complete team effort this year. Our goal is to establish consistency in every facet of the game and tonight, we felt like we accomplished that."

Gonzaga right hander Justin Vernia

  • "Getting ahead of a lot of guys helped big time. It's nice too when you have a lead like that. I had a lot of confidence in the guys behind me and I just let them hit it, put the ball in play, and your defense is going to make all those plays for you."

Gonzaga first baseman Jake Vieth

  • "I definitely think [hitting is contagious] in those situations. When you start seeing guys hitting the ball and squaring up, you start feeling confident that nothing's going to beat you and they can't get you out. That feeling just carries through the team."

Next Up:

The Bulldogs (9-9, 2-0 WCC) will end the series with Pacific Sunday, March 19, with a 12:00 p.m. contest. LHP Calvin LeBrun will start the finale for Gonzaga, and the Tigers will turn to fellow lefty Ricky Reynoso.



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