Zags Walkoff No. 22 Huskies for 8-7 win
March 22, 2017
SPOKANE, Wash.—The Gonzaga University baseball team split a series against Washington in thrilling fashion Wednesday night as Troy Johnston hit a walkoff single in the bottom of the ninth for an 8-7 victory at Patterson Baseball Complex & Washington Trust Field.
With the bases loaded, Johnston, a pinch hitter entered the game to face Washington reliever Alex Hardy. After a ball and two straight strikes, Johnston sliced a pitch into left center, allowing lead runners Brendan McClary and Jake Roberts to score for the 8-7 win. McClary replaced first baseman Jake Vieth, who led the frame off with a single, and Roberts reached on a walk. Both moved up on a one-out grounder.
At one point, the Zags led the game 6-1, but Washington started a rally once Gonzaga starter Casey Legumina left. The freshman righty allowed just one run in his six innings of work, but he was replaced before the seventh by junior Calvin LeBrun. Washington scored six runs off the lefty over an inning and two-thirds, five of which were earned. Four of those scores came in the seventh, and Willie MacIver plated two more with an RBI single up the middle.
Early in the game, Gonzaga jumped out to a 4-0 lead. In the second, the first three Bulldogs at bat singled to load the bases. Designated hitter Jace VanDeBrake grounded into a double play, but lead runner Justin Jacobs scored on the play. Shortstop Gunnar Schubert followed up with another base knock, allowing Vieth to come home for a 2-0 lead.
In the next frame, Vieth and Roberts both drew two-out walks, and they both advanced 90 feet on a wild pitch from Washington starter Josh Burgmann. VanDeBrake then hit a single into right allowing both runners to score.
The Huskies scored their first run in the sixth on a wild pitch from Legumina, but the freshman righty again escaped a jam with a pair of strikeouts, his fifth and sixth of the night. In the bottom of the frame, Gonzaga got that run back and more with a two-RBI single from Tyler Frost, putting the score at 6-1.
Freshman outfielder Troy Johnston
Assistant coach Brandon Harmon
Gonzaga (11-10, 3-0 WCC) returns to West Coast Conference play this weekend with three games against San Francisco. Game one of the series will begin at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, March 24, again at Patterson Baseball Complex & Washington Trust Field. RHP Eli Morgan is the scheduled starter for the Bulldogs.
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