Morgan Fans 15 as Zags Win Fifth Straight
April 21, 2017

Box Score

PORTLAND, Ore.--The Gonzaga baseball team collected its fifth straight win Friday night with a 13-0 shutout of Portland at Joe Etzel Field in Portland, Ore.

Starting pitcher Eli Morgan was sterling once again, matching his career high with 15 strikeouts while allowing just three hits. Two of those came in the second inning as the junior from Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., allowed a single and a double for runners at second and third with no outs. That quickly changed as he got Jason Rosen to hit a soft fly out to left field and then struck out Ryan Hoogerwerf for two quick outs. After a walk to load the bases, Morgan again got a lazy fly ball to right field to end the threat.

After the second, he then retired seven in a row and allowed just one more hit through the eighth inning. Morgan struck out 15 Pilots to match his career high, notching at least one in all eight innings on the mound. He ended his night by striking out the side in the eighth.

The Gonzaga offense, meanwhile, broke through in the fourth inning and kept repeating the feat. Gonzaga scored four runs in the fourth, two of them coming on a double to the gap in right center from shortstop Gunnar Schubert. Catcher Jake Roberts added another on a sacrifice fly, and Schubert later scored on a wild pitch, jumping over Portland backstop Dutton Elske for the tally.

The Bulldogs struck again for two in the fifth inning, taking a 6-0 lead on RBIs from Justin Jacobs and Jeff Bohling. In the eighth, they broke the game open with four more runs on four hits. Bohling led off the frame with a solo blast, his first of the year. Sam Brown also drew an RBI walk in the frame, and both Schubert and Roberts scored on wild pitches.

In the ninth, the Zags added the final three runs to their tally, two of which came off the bat of Branson Trube. The pinch-hitter fought off numerous 3-2 counts before smashing a double into right field, allowing Roberts and Nick Brooks to score.

In the bottom of the ninth, Nate Odahl took the mound in relief. He retired all three batters he faced to confirm the win for Morgan, who advanced to 7-1 on the year.

Bulldog Bites:

  • With the win, Gonzaga has won its last five games for its longest streak of the season. Furthermore, the Bulldogs have won eight of their last nine games and are 15-5 since conference play started March 17. During that five-game win streak, the Zags have averaged 10.2 runs per game and have scored at least seven times every game. They've twice reached their season-high of 13 runs, including Friday's contest.
  • Morgan's outing was again fantastic as he held the Pilots scoreless through 8.0 innings and allowed just three hits while striking out 15. This is the fifth time this year the junior's allowed three hits or fewer (all outings of at least 7.0 innings), and he's fanned at least 12 batters four times. Morgan is just the second player in Division I with multiple 15-K outings this season (also: JP Sears, The Citadel, three times).
  • Odahl, a freshman right-hander, made his collegiate debut, relieving Morgan in the bottom of the ninth. The Los Angeles native struck out the first batter he faced and got the next two batters to ground out.
  • The shutout was Gonzaga's fifth of the season and fourth in West Coast Conference play. They previously held Cal State Fullerton, San Diego, and Pacific (twice) scoreless on the year. The Zags have not been shutout themselves.

Mac Talk: Thoughts from Gonzaga head coach Mark Machtolf

  • "We are definitely playing a good brand of baseball right now, but we are really just trying to focus on playing a little better each day."
  • "Morgan did a great job of working ahead. It's really his identity as a pitcher. I think the momentum of getting out of that jam in the second really helped, too. He was in control."

Next Up:

The Zags (22-14, 12-4 WCC) and Pilots (8-28-1, 4-12 WCC) will resume the series on Saturday, April 22, with another 6:00 p.m. contest. RHP Justin Vernia will take the mound for Gonzaga, and the Pilots are scheduled to send LHP Grady Miller to the rubber.



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