Zags Claim Share of Second Consecutive WCC Title
May 21, 2017

Box Score |  Photo Gallery 

SPOKANE, Wash.--Entering the weekend, the Gonzaga baseball team needed a historic sweep of No. 18 BYU in a home series against the Cougars. Saturday night, the Zags finished off the sweep with a 6-2 win over the Cougars, earning a share of the title and the No. 1 seed at next weekend's West Coast Conference Championships.

Gonzaga dominated the opening frames, scoring the game's first five runs. In the first, Jeff Bohling gave the Zags an early lead, singling to third base and allowing Sam Brown to score, putting the Zags up 1-0. Two innings later, the Bulldogs extended that lead in the third on a monstrous swing from Tyler Frost. He blasted the first pitch he saw from BYU starter Hayden Rogers well over the fence in right field, bringing home Troy Johnston for two more runs.

In the fourth, Gonzaga added two more, chasing Rogers from the game in the process. Jake Vieth led off with a single to center, and he moved over on a sacrifice bunt and a single from Brown. Johnston drove the junior home with a sacrifice fly out to left. Brown then moved up to third on a single from Frost, and Jacobs picked Brown up with a knock to left center for a 5-0 advantage.

Defensively, meanwhile, GU starter Daniel Bies shut down the vaunted Cougar offense for the first five innings. The Cougars got to him in the sixth for three hits with Keaton Kringlen knocking the GU sophomore out of the game with an RBI double. Reliever Wyatt Mills came on with one down, allowing a pair of hits - including an RBI bloop single to Colton Shaver - before getting the final two outs and preventing further damage.

A senior righty from Spokane, Mills got stronger as the game progressed. He stranded runners on second and third in the seventh, foiling BYU's last major attempt at a rally. Mills retired the side in order in the eighth, and Jacobs added one more to the Zags' tally with an RBI single in the bottom of the frame. After two quick outs in the top of the ninth, Mills allowed just a two-out single before retiring Daniel Schneemann and capping off the 6-2 victory.

Bies earned the win after allowing just two runs and striking out five in 5.1 innings of work. Mills earned the save, his 11th of the season, with 3.2 scoreless innings, fanning five Cougar batters.

Bulldog Bites:

  • Gonzaga clinched its second consecutive regular season victory Saturday night as they also tied for the conference title last season. It's the first time the Bulldogs have won back-to-back titles since 1980-81 when they did so as members of the NorPac conference. In all, Gonzaga has won four WCC regular season championships since joining the conference before the 1996 season.
  • With the win, the Bulldogs also clinched the top seed in the WCC Championships. That tournament will run May 25-27 at Stockton, Calif.'s Banner Island Ballpark, and decide the conference's automatic qualifier to the NCAA Tournament. As the top seed, the Bulldogs will face either Saint Mary's or San Diego at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 25.
  • Also, the Bulldogs picked up their first-ever sweep of BYU, who came into the weekend ranked No. 18 by Collegiate Baseball and averaging 8.73 runs a game. The Zags held BYU to eight runs total during the series for a 2.67 team ERA while scoring 26 runs and hitting .398 themselves. With the sweep, Gonzaga is now 9-5 against ranked teams and has won its last three series against ranked foes.
  • Prior to the game, the Bulldogs' seven seniors -Bohling, Brown, Jacobs, Mills, Sam Hellinger, Jake Roberts, and Justin Vernia - were honored as tonight was their final collegiate game at Patterson Baseball Complex & Washington Trust Field. The seven combined for eight hits - three doubles - two runs, and three RBIs, as well as Mills' 3.2-inning, five-strikeout save.
  • Bies matched his career high with five strikeouts, a mark he's reached three times already this season. He didn't walk any batters, and he allowed just the two sixth-inning runs.

Zag Speak:

Gonzaga head coach Mark Machtolf

  • "I don't think I've ever been more proud of a group than this. Obviously last year, and we've won championships before, but in this fashion? This year, to get the top two teams in here knowing that we had to have at least two against Loyola and had to sweep BYU, and we accomplished that. I couldn't be more proud of and happy for all our guys, but especially our seniors."

Gonzaga senior Justin Jacobs

  • "It feels awesome. That was a great series to be a part of. Huge Zag effort all the way around: pitching, hitting, coaching. Everyone came together as a team right there and did what we had to do. Now we have a lot ahead of us and a lot more goals for the rest of the year."

Gonzaga senior Wyatt Mills

  • "That's what I came back for. That's exactly what I wanted, to get another championship here, and do it in front of my city and my school. I couldn't be happier."

Next Up:

The Zags (31-17, 20-7 WCC) will wrap up the regular season on Monday, May 22, with a game at Fresno State. First pitch for their final WCC Championships tune-up will begin at 6:05 p.m. at Pete Beiden Field at Bob Bennett Stadium in Fresno, Calif.



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