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Gonzaga Baseball

Gonzaga baseball starts season with win in Tucson

by Gonzaga Athletics

Gonzaga University used a six-run eighth inning to post a 10-6 victory over the University of Missouri in each team's season-opener at the Cactus Classic Friday afternoon. Gonzaga (1-0) used a strong starting pitching performance from Cody Martin, a four-hit game by Drew Heid and home runs by Cameron Edman and Royce Bolinger to win its first season-opener in five seasons.

Martin picked up the win after firing six strong innings, allowing three earned runs and striking out a career-high nine while reliever Liam Baron held off Missouri (0-1) for the final 2.2 innings to earn his first career save. The Gonzaga offense recorded 17 hits as six players produced multi-hit games led by Heid who tied a career high with four hits and Edman who finished with three hits and two RBI in his first career start.

Heid got the 2010 season off to a great start, leading off the game with an opposite field triple into the left field corner. Following a Chris Sturdivant line out, newcomer Clayton Eslick brought Heid home for the first run of the ball game with an RBI-ground out to shortstop. The Zags kept things going a batter later as Andy Hunter singled to right center before Mark Castellitto lined a pitch into the right centerfield gap for an RBI double, scoring Hunter all the way from first to give GU the early 2-0 lead.

Edman put the Bulldogs on the board in the second inning with his first career home run. The junior catcher jumped on the first pitch he saw for a one-out solo homer deep over the left field fence to extend the Gonzaga lead to 3-0.

Martin cruised through the first two innings, striking out five of the first seven hitters he faced before he ran into trouble in the third inning. Missouri was able to bring one run across with a two-out RBI single before the next Tiger batter homered to tie the game at 3-3.

The Bulldogs were able to regain the lead in the sixth as Bolinger got things going with a two-out base hit to left field. Sean Wilson followed with a single back up the middle into shallow centerfield to send Bolinger hustling around to third who then got waved home on the play and scored to give GU a 4-3 lead.

The Gonzaga bullpen came through in the seventh as Martin gave way to reliever Jacob Hiatt to start the seventh. The first two Tiger hitters singled to start the inning before the next UM hitter lined a shot to shortstop Ernesto Ortiz who purposely dropped the ball and then tried to turn a double play but the second base umpire had ruled it a catch, only allowing Gonzaga to record one out and keeping two Missouri runners on base. The Zags again went to the bullpen, calling in Australian lefthander Baron who promptly loaded the bases with a four-pitch walk but came back to strikeout out the next two hitters to end the threat and allow GU to take their 4-3 to the eighth inning.

The Zags were able to put the game away in the top of the eighth, scoring six runs highlighted by Bolinger's opposite field two-run homer to right center to push the lead to 6-3. Wilson layed down a bunt single and Edman followed with a line drive RBI double off the left field wall for his third hit of the game to make it 7-3. After Ortiz was hit by a pitch, Heid singled to center to record his fourth hit of the contest, scoring Edman. Sturdivant became the Zags seventh consecutive hitter to reach base with his two-run single to push the lead to 10-3.

Missouri pushed a couple runs across in the eighth and later added another run in the ninth but Baron buckled down to get the final Missouri hitter out on a comebacker to lock up the 10-6 Gonzaga win.

Hunter, Wilson, Edman and Kevin Hawk each recorded their first career Gonzaga hits in the win.

Gonzaga continues play in Tucson with a pair of games Saturday, facing New Mexico State University at 10 a.m. and the University of Washington at 6 p.m.

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