Gonzaga beats USF in conference opener - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Gonzaga beats USF in conference opener

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by Gonzaga Univ. athletics

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- Gonzaga University used an outstanding pitching performance from starter Cody Martin to claim a 3-2 victory over the University of San Francisco in each team's West Coast Conference opener Friday afternoon.

The defending WCC champion Bulldogs received a 7.1-inning effort from Martin, a clutch relief appearance by Billy Moon and a big hit from Andy Hunter to improve to 12-17 and 1-0 in the WCC. San Francisco dropped to 15-15 and 0-1 in the WCC.

Royce Bolinger put the Bulldogs on the board in the third inning with a two-out RBI-single to score Mark Castellitto and give GU a 1-0 lead. Castellitto reached with a one-out single to centerfield and after a Clayton Eslick ground out and a USF wild pitch, Bolinger lined a pitch back up the middle and past a diving Dons shortstop to score Castellitto.

Gonzaga extended their lead to 3-0 with two more runs in the fifth inning as Steven Halcomb opened the inning by earning a walk and Heid followed with a base-hit to centerfield. The next batter Cameron Edman grounded into a fielder's choice to keep two runners on with one out for Hunter. The Zags leading run producer did what he does best, coming through with a big hit by driving a pitch to the right centerfield field gap for a two-run double and open the GU lead up to 3-0.

Martin had cruised through the first five innings, allowing just a pair of singles and worked around a couple walks before USF picked up a run in the sixth on a solo homer. Martin came right back out and retired the Dons in order in the seventh inning before giving way to reliever Billy Moon after getting a fly out to start the eighth inning. USF was able to make it a 3-2 game in the bottom of the inning as a double and a Gonzaga fielding error brought home the Dons second run of the ball game.

Moon held strong in the ninth after surrendering a two-out double by striking out the final batter of the game to seal up the conference win and pick up his fourth save of the season.

Martin added six to his WCC leading strikeout total and allowed just the one earned run and three hits to improve his record to 3-3. Heid and Eslick each recorded two hits for the Zags.

Gonzaga continues its conference series with USF 1 p.m. Saturday.

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