Gonzaga Outslugged by Oregon, Lose 8-7 - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Gonzaga Outslugged by Oregon, Lose 8-7

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by Brad Wall

SPOKANE, Wash. – Gonzaga kept pace with the efficient Oregon offense early, but was unable to salvage a late game-tying run in the ninth, falling to the Ducks 8-7 Wednesday night in the second of a short two-game series.

The Ducks loaded the bases to start the game as Aaron Payne hit a single, Aaron Jones was hit by a pitch and Ryon Healy reached on a fielding error by Steven Halcomb. Brett Thomas opened the scoring with a double that nearly cleared the bases, but Healy was thrown out at home, giving Thomas 2 RBIs. Kyle Garlick hit a double of his own to bring in Thomas and put Oregon up 3-0 early.

The Bulldogs responded quickly as Halcomb and Brock Slavin hit consecutive singles to lead off the first. Royce Bolinger got the Zags on the board with a double to score Halcomb. Clayton Eslick then grounded out, scoring Slavin. Alex Stanford tied up the game with a sac-fly to bring home Bolinger.

Starter Karl Myers' outing was over quick as he was relieved by Derek Callahan in the second after allowing three runs on three hits. Payne and Jones both reached on errors by Halcomb and Bolinger. Healy hit a single to bring in Payne for an unearned run to put the Ducks ahead by a run.

It looked as if Gonzaga would respond once again as Marco Gonzales led off with a single followed by a Mitchell Gunsolus hit by the pitch. After a Maxx Garrett sacrifice bunt to move the runners over to second and third, Halcomb loaded the bases after being hit by a pitch. Slavin however grounded into an inning ending double play, keeping the Zags behind.

Oregon continued to keep the bats going and took advantage of Gonzaga's miscues in the third. Garlick and Ryan Hambright both singled and moved second and third on a balk. Andrew Mendenhall drove both of them in with a single to extend their lead to three. Kevin Shepherd singled to put runners on second and first with one out, but Payne then lined out to first and Gonzales made the unassisted double play to end the inning.

Bolinger led off the third with a double and the Ducks relieved starter Henry Gigeous with Billy Flamion. He failed to record an out, walking Eslick, Stanford, Alex Bonczyk and Gonzales to bring two runs in for Gonzaga. David Wylie relieved Flamion, who left the bases loaded for him, and grounded Gunsolus into a 3-2-3 double play. GU Head Coach Mark Machtolf argued the play and was ejected by the home plate umpire. Garrett struck out but reached first on a throwing error by the catcher, tying the game at six a piece.

The Zags put Sean-Luke Brija on the mound in the fourth, who finally shut down the Ducks offense with a 1,2,3 inning. He wouldn't contain them for long however as Garlick and Hambright hit consecutive singles to start the fifth. Shaun Chase struck a double to center field to bring those two runners in, he also advanced to third on a throwing error by Bonczyk, Gonzaga's fourth error of the game. Derek Peterson relieved Brija and managed to hold Chase at third by retiring three of the next four hitters. Peterson continued to handle the Oregon lineup with a 1,2,3 sixth inning.

After walking pinch hitter Connor Hoffman with one out in the seventh, Zach Abbruzza relieved Peterson, walking pinch hitter Jordan Spencer. Shepherd executed a sacrifice bunt to the pitcher to advance Hoffman and Spencer over with two outs. Abbruzza struck out Payne to end the threat by the Ducks in the seventh.

Travis Forbes pinch hit for Garrett in the eighth and hit a leadoff single, but Halcomb grounded into a double play and Slavin fouled out, leaving Gonzaga with one more chance.

GU eyed a late rally in the bottom of the ninth as Bolinger was walked and Eslick was hit by a pitch. Stanford then reached on a fielder's choice, advancing Bolinger to third. Reliever Jimmie Sherfy struck out Billy Moon, leaving Gonzaga with their final out. Oregon intentionally walked Gonzales to load the bases for pinch hitter Payden Cawley Lamb, who was hit by a pitch to bring home Bolinger and cut the deficit to one. Forbes fouled out to first base to end the game.

11 different pitchers saw action in the game, six for Oregon and five for Gonzaga. Brija got the loss while Wylie managed to get the victory, allowing no runs on one hit in four innings of relief.

Gonzaga allowed 10 hits in the first five innings but allowed no more for the final four.

After losing both games versus Oregon, the Bulldogs will head to California for a three-game conference series with Saint Mary's. The first game will be Friday at 3:00 p.m. 

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