Baseball Sweeps WCC Series From Portland
April 18, 2004
SPOKANE, Wash. - What started out as a pitcher's dual turned out to be a battle of bullpens as the Gonzaga University Bulldogs (15-21, 8-7 WCC) scored one run in the bottom of the eighth inning against the University of Portland bullpen to collect a 3-2 Sunday afternoon win and sweep the West Coast Conference series from the Pilots (7-29, 3-12 WCC) at Avista Stadium. The Bulldogs won all four games against their Northwest rivals this season two of the four victories coming with late Gonzaga heroics for one-run victories.
Tied 2-2 heading into the bottom of the eighth, Gonzaga loaded the bases with one out against Pilots relief pitcher Given Kutz (2-1). Marshall Bratton started the rally with a one-out walk followed by a single up the middle by Brad Welker. Kiel Thibault then collected his third hit of the afternoon to load the bases for Jeff Culpepper. Culpepper drove home the go ahead run with a sacrifice fly to left field to score Bratton. Portland was able to relay the throw from the plate back to third base to catch Welker attempting to advance to pick up the third out.
With a 3-2 lead in hand John Gonzalez worked the ninth inning allowing only Gus Little to reach on an infield error. Gonzalez (2-3) had pitched the Bulldogs out of a bases loaded situation in the eighth inning as he struck out Jesse Rodgers to give the Bulldogs the winning chance in their half of the inning. Portland had scored one run to start the eighth as Adam Kerr hit a bloop single to left to score Travis Vetters who had led off the inning with an infield single to third. Gonzalez stranded Portland with the bases loaded for the second time in the game as the Pilots left 11 runners on base.
Gonzaga starter Patrick Donovan was left with a no-decision after working seven strong innings with six hits and only one Portland run, a Justin Pierce solo homer in the seventh. Donovan had worked out of a bases loaded situation in the sixth as he struck out Rhett Parker with the bases full. Donovan struck out four and walked two.
Pilots starter Jared Adams was just as effective limiting Gonzaga to just one earned run through seven innings. Gonzaga scored an unearned run in the second as Mike Rundle had a sacrifice fly to score David Johnson. Bratton the pushed the Bulldogs lead to 2-0 with a solo home run in the third, his second long ball of the season.
Thibault led the Zags with three hits to increase his season average to .467 and .501 in WCC action. Bratton and Johnson also finished 2-for-3 as the Zags had 10 hits on the day. Little, Joe Watson and Parker each had two hits to lead Portland. The Bulldogs return to action on Tuesday afternoon as they host Washington State University at 1 p.m. at Avista Stadium.
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