Johnson's Big Blows Propel Gonzaga
April 13, 2004
PULLMAN, Wash. - David Johnson had a two-run triple in the seventh inning and hit his team-leading fourth home run of the season in the ninth as Gonzaga University defeated Washington State University 8-5 Tuesday at Bailey-Brayton Field.
The win was the first for the Bulldogs (12-21) over the Cougars (21-11) in three meetings this season and snapped a three-game WSU winning streak in the series dating to last season.
Trailing 5-4, the Bulldogs rallied for three runs in the seventh to take the lead for good. Kiel Thibault, who had extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a fourth-inning single, led off the seventh with an infield single to short. Jeff Culpepper singled to right to advance Thibault to third and Johnson followed with his triple to the fence in right center to score the runners. That chased Brett Beetham, the second of three Cougar pitchers, and Brandon Hundt wild pitched Johnson home for a 7-5 Gonzaga lead.
Johnson's two-out homer to right in the ninth gave reliever Nate Williams some unneeded insurance for his second save of the season. Williams went two flawless innings, striking out four.
Gonzaga starter Matt Reding went seven innings, allowed 10 hits, five earned runs, walked two and struck out one in evening his record at 1-1.
The Cougars jumped off to an early 3-0 lead. Kaeo Rubin led off the game for the Cougars with an infield hit off Reding's leg, he advanced to second when Culpepper couldn't handle a pickoff attempt cleanly at first base and scored on Jay Miler's one-out double to right center. Grant Richardson followed with a double to center to score Miller from first.
WSU made it 3-0 in the third when Richardson was hit by a pitch and scored on Zach McAngus' double down the left field line.
Gonzaga threatened in the third inning, Aaron McGuinness reaching on a hit batter with one out and Mike Rundle singling to left. But the uprising was quelled when Chris Sinner hit into an inning-ending double play.
The Bulldogs did climb back into the contest in the fourth. Marshall Bratton was safe when WSU first baseman Richardson had his glove come off while trying to make a tag on a throw from third baseman Greg Keim that drew Richardson up the line. Thibault singled to left center and Culpepper followed with a double down the third base line to score Bratton and advance Thibault to third. Johnson grounded to third, Thibault was gunned down at the plate and Culpepper took third on the play. Bobby Carlson delivered a sacrifice fly to left to score Culpepper and make it a 3-2 game.
It didn't take WSU long to get the two runs back. A one-out double by Miller, an intentional walk to Richardson and an RBI single Zach McAngus under the out-stretched glove of McGuinness at short scored Miller and advanced Richardson to third. Zach Franklin's sacrifice fly to center scored Richardson.
Gonzaga scored twice in the sixth to make it a 5-4 game and had the potential to get even more. Carlson hit a two-out home run to left, his second of the season, after Culpepper had led off the inning with a single but was erased in a double play. Brad Welker, McGuinness and Mike Rundle stroked consecutive singles, Rundle plating Welker with his single up the middle. Rundle stole second and Jason Wederspahn, who pinch hit for Sinner in the fifth, walked to load the bases. Bratton's slow roller was fielded by Cougar third baseman Keim who made the throw to first to end the inning.
Gonzaga returns to West Coast Conference action this weekend at Avista Stadium when the University of Portland comes to town for a three-game series. The first pitch Friday and Saturday will be at 3 p.m., with Sunday's single game starting at 1 p.m. Saturday's game was originally scheduled for 1 p.m. to was changed to a 3 p.m. start to accommodate another booking at Avista.
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