Another Late-Inning Comeback Falls Short At #15 UCI
March 21, 2010
IRVINE, Calif. – Another ninth-inning rally by Gonzaga University came up short Sunday afternoon as the Bulldogs dropped an 8-5 decision in its series finale against No. 15 UC Irvine. For the second time in the series and third time this week the Zags brought the potential tying-run to the plate in their final at-bat only to be turned away.
The Bulldogs (8-11) recorded 15 hits as five players posted multi-hit games led by Royce Bolinger who finished the game 4-for-5 with two doubles and an RBI. Mark Castellitto added two hits and two RBI while Chris Sturdivant also had two hits and scored twice. The Anteaters improved to 13-6 overall with the win.
The Gonzaga offense backed starting pitcher’s Reedy Berg’s two scoreless innings by putting up two runs in the top the third inning. Ernesto Ortiz led off the inning with a base hit to left field and one batter later Sturdivant drove a ball deep into the right centerfield alley for an RBI-triple to score Ortiz for the game’s first run. The Zags picked up the second run of the frame on Bolinger’s two-out RBI double to score Sturdivant.
The Anteater offense answered right back in a big way, pushing seven runs across in their half of the third, six off of Berg and one off of reliever Andrew Danner to build a 7-2 lead. Irvine used four hits and benefitted from three walks and two hit-by-pitches in the inning to produce seven runs.
Danner settled things down after that, holding Irvine scoreless over the next three innings to give the Zags a chance to get back into things and that’s just what they did. After scoring a run in the fourth inning on a Ernesto Ortiz sacrifice fly, Drew Heid reached on an error to lead off the seventh inning. Sturdivant followed with a base-hit to right field and Heid moved around to third on another UCI error. One batter later Castellitto brought home Heid with a two-strike RBI-single to centerfield to make it a 7-4 ball game. Eslick followed with a single to load the bases for Bolinger who lined the first pitch he saw into left field for an RBI-single, cutting the UCI lead to 7-5. The Bulldogs could not bring anymore across as Irvine ended the inning by getting a pair of strikeouts to leave the bases full for Zags.
UCI again answered a Gonzaga scoring inning with a one of their own, using a solo home run to open up an 8-5 lead through seven.
Just as they had in a the Tuesday night 3-2 loss to BYU and Friday’s 6-4 loss to UCI the Bulldogs strung together some good at-bats to eventually bring the tying run to the plate in the ninth inning. Eslick was the first to reach, getting hit by a pitch with one out and Bolinger followed with his fourth hit of the game to put two runners on. After a strikeout, both runners moved a base on a wild pitch but Irvine dodged the Bulldogs comeback attempt as Cameron Edman flew out to left field to end the game.
Next up for the Bulldogs is a matchup against Washington State University in Pullman, Wash. 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.
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