Saturday's double-header has been moved up two hours due to the threat of rain Saturday evening in the Berkeley area. Game two will begin around 4:05 p.m. or 30 minutes after game one, depending on game one's length.
THE START OF THE PAC-12 SCHEDULE:
Gonzaga played three of its 13 games against Pac-12 foes last weekend, winning Friday night's contest from UCLA before falling in the next two...on Feb. 24, the Zags scored once in the ninth and once in the 10th to snag an extra-innings victory...UCLA evened the series the next day, and the rubber match came down to the final innings as the Zags saw a game-tying home run stolen in the top of the eighth.
With the 1-2 weekend, Gonzaga is now 8-4 against Pac-12 opponents over the last two seasons...the Zags will play Oregon State once, Washington twice, and Washington State three times over the remaining 2017 slate...both games against the Huskies and two against the Cougars will take place at Patterson Baseball Complex.
The Zags and Golden Bears are 4-4 all-time against each other, but this will be the first series between the two since 2002...in May 2013, they played one game in Berkeley before the WCC Championships began in Stockton, Calif....that regular season finale was a 12-inning affair that saw nine different GU pitchers...Cal won it 3-2 on a walk-off single...no current players for either team played in that contest.
California is 2-5 on the year, most recently dropping four games at No. 11 Texas Tech...OF Jeffrey Mitchel, Jr., leads the team with nine hits, while INF Anthony Walters' .350 average is best on the squad...five different pitchers have started a game, with LHP Mat Ladrech posting the best ERA at 1.23 with a run allowed in 7.1 innings...three have made three relief appearances with RHP Erik Martinez registering a save and a 2.70 ERA.
THE MORE BASEBALL, THE BETTER:
Saturday's doubleheader at Cal will be the Zags' second of the season...they opened 2017 by splitting games against Duke (W, 6-1) and Indiana (L, 12-3) on Feb. 17 in Surprise, Ariz....the Zags played four doubleheaders last season, splitting three of those two-for-ones and beating UTSA twice in San Antonio for a 5-3 overall record...since 2000, they're 65-46-1 when playing two games in one day, and they've won at least one game in 18 of 19 double-headers since 2012.
The Bulldogs saw their first extra-innings game of the year Feb. 24 when they downed UCLA in 10 innings 2-1...Troy Johnston's first career hit drove in the game-winning run in the top of the 10th...Gonzaga was 6-1 in extra-inning games during 2016...their longest game was 12 innings last year...they only played extras once in 2015 (0-1) and twice in 2014 (1-1).
Gonzaga's lineup features plenty of upperclassmen: all eight Zags with at least five starts in the field are either a junior or a senior...14 different players have started at least once in the field, and eight of them are upperclassmen...five sophomores have made one or more starts, as has just one freshman.
All four everyday seniors (Jeff Bohling, Sam Brown, Justin Jacobs, and Jake Roberts) have started all seven games this year...there have been at least seven upperclassmen in the lineup for all seven games...on Feb. 19 versus Indiana, all nine starting fielders were either a junior or a senior.
GU's everyday seniors have accounted for 31 of the team's 59 hits, 11 of 21 runs scored, and six of 10 doubles...juniors, meanwhile, have provided 24 hits, nine runs scored, and nine RBIs.
Senior pitchers (Justin Vernia, Sam Hellinger, and Wyatt Mills) have combined for eight appearances, thrown 19.2 innings, and allowed just 16 hits and four runs, three of which were earned for a 1.37 ERA...Hellinger and Mills makeup the back end of the bullpen with Hellinger serving as the team's setup man and Mills closing games out...they've pitched in two saved games this season.
Eight Zags have made their Gonzaga debuts already this season...juniors Jake Vieth and Gunnar Schubert made their first D1 appearance in the season opener after transferring from junior colleges...Daniel Fredrickson saw his first GU appearance Feb. 24 at UCLA...he transferred from Washington State and redshirted in 2016.
As is tradition, Gonzaga begins the year on a 16-game road trip...they also began last year with 16 games on the road...in 2015, their season-opening swing lasted 17 games, and it was 24 the year before that.
The Zags play 52 games this season, 23 of which will take place in Spokane...they host six WCC teams after making six conference trips last year...the Zags open the home slate March 17 against Pacific, the first of an eight-game homestand...they close the home slate with 10 straight from April 28 to May 20...season tickets are available at http://www.gozags.com/tickets.
RHP Eli Morgan saw a bounce-back effort at UCLA, tossing 6.0 innings while allowing just one run on five hits...he also struck out seven batters for the second time this season...his lone run allowed came on a solo home run...the Zags' late-innings comeback gave the Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., native a no-decision...last year, Morgan went 10-3 with a 3.73 ERA, including an 8-0 mark and 1.14 ERA in WCC play.
LHP Mac Lardner will make his second career start in game one Saturday...in his first, his first collegiate appearance Feb. 18, he pitched 6.0 innings of one-run ball in a win over Duke...the freshman fanned eight Blue Devils in that game, the most by a Zag rookie since 2014...Lardner also made an appearance out of the bullpen at UCLA Feb. 25, allowing two runs in 3.2 innings...the Templeton, Calif., native earned Max Preps First Team All-American honors as a senior in high school.
RHP Justin Vernia evened his record at 1-1 Feb. 25 at UCLA, taking the loss after allowing three runs in 3.1 innings...to begin the year, the Issaquah, Wash., native went a career-high 8.0 innings and allowed just one unearned run Feb. 17 versus Duke...last year, his first as a Zag, he made 15 appearances, six of them starts...over the summer, he posted a 0.58 ERA over seven starts and 46.1 innings in Alaska.
RHP Casey Legumina made his collegiate debut in a start Feb. 26 at UCLA...the Chandler, Ariz., native pitched 6.0 innings, allowing five runs in the first three frames...he faced the minimum in his final 3.2 innings, including retiring eight straight batters at one point...at Basha HS, he earned First Team All-Section and Team MVP honors during his senior season...as a junior, he tallied a school-record 72 strikeouts.