Zags Blank Pacific for Second Straight Game
March 18, 2017
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.
Gonzaga head coach Mark Machtolf
Gonzaga right hander Justin Vernia
Gonzaga first baseman Jake Vieth
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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