Portland Ends Zags WCC Winning Streak, 10-6 - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Portland Ends Zags WCC Winning Streak, 10-6

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Mitch Gunsolus and the Zags dropped their six-game WCC win streak in Portland on Saturday. (Photo: GU) Mitch Gunsolus and the Zags dropped their six-game WCC win streak in Portland on Saturday. (Photo: GU)

PORTLAND, Ore.—The Gonzaga University baseball squad saw its West Coast Conference win streak snapped at six games Saturday, falling to Portland by a 10-6 score at Joe Etzel Field in Portland.

Like in game one of the series, the Pilots opened scoring in the first inning, but this time the home squad scored five runs in the first frame. They loaded the bases with one out via two hits and a walk, and Cody Lenahan brought in two runs with a double down the right field line. After another walk loaded the infield once more, Eric Sapp hit a triple down the same right field line, clearing the bags and giving the Pilots a 5-0 advantage.

Both teams scored one in each half of the second inning – Gonzaga on an RBI groundout from Jeff Bohling, Portland on an RBI double from Kevin Wade – and then the Zags went to work whittling down the 6-1 Pilot lead. They tallied a run in the third inning as Mitchell Gunsolus scored from first on a double from Sam Brown. GU got one more in the top of the fifth when Gunsolus hit a leadoff double to left center field and moved to third on a groundout from Brown. Cory LeBrun then hit a sacrifice fly out to center field, plating the senior third baseman.

Gonzaga came within two with one more run in the sixth, but there was an opportunity for more as well. The Zags loaded the bases with three consecutive one-out singles, chasing Portland starter Kurt Yinger from the game. Gunsolus then drew an RBI walk, forcing home the leadoff runner in Bohling. Portland escaped the bases-loaded situation in the next at bat, however, when Brown grounded into a double play to end the frame.

The Pilots responded by getting one more run in the bottom of the sixth inning and plating three more runs in the seventh, reaching 10 on the day. Down by six, Gonzaga scored two in the top of the ninth inning on an RBI single from Taylor Jones and a fielder's choice from Tyler Frost, but that was it for the visitors and the Zags fell 10-6, snapping their six-game win streak against WCC opponents. That stretch dated back to April 3 as the Zags captured the second and third games of their series against San Diego, before sweeping Saint Mary's and winning the first game against Portland.

Bulldog Bites

Gunsolus moved back into the top spot of the lineup Saturday and celebrated by going 1-for-3 with a double, two walks, two runs, and an RBI. He's hitting .373 (38x102) when hitting first, including 11 extra-base hits, 16 walks, and 23 runs scored. He's also tallied 12 RBIs from atop the lineup.Six different Zags tallied an RBI Saturday, sampling Gonzaga's relatively even RBI numbers on the year. While Justin Jacobs does the lead the team with 29 RBIs – 10 more than any other Bulldog – six other players have double-digit RBIs and 11 total have at least seven RBIs. Both Jones and Brown are tied for second with 19 RBIs, and Gunsolus and Frost have each brought in 17.After allowing six runs his first two innings, Gonzaga starter Hunter Wells settled down to retire nine Pilots in a row, going from the last out of the second to the second out in the fifth without allowing a baserunner. He got two outs in the sixth inning, giving him 5.2 innings, matching a season high. Additionally, he also fanned six batters, one off from a personal best. The seven runs allowed, however, ended a streak of seven games in which a GU starter only allowed three runs or less. Gonzaga was 6-1 during that stretch, and after suffering the loss, Wells' record on the year fell to 1-3.Saturday's loss to Portland snapped the Zags' six-game WCC win streak, but it also snapped a longer streak as it was the first time in 13 games the GU had lost to the Pilots. The Zags had won each of the last 13 games between the Pacific Northwest foes dating back to the beginning of the 2011 season. Gonzaga will now look to avoid the first series loss to the Pilots in five years; the Pilots swept the 2010 series between the two teams.Next Up

Gonzaga (19-18, 9-8 WCC) will look to take its third straight conference series Sunday, April 18, in the rubber match against the Pilots. RHP Brandon Bailey is slated to take the mound for Gonzaga, while the Pilots will counter with RHP Jackson Lockwood. That game will start at 1:00 p.m., again at Joe Etzel Field in Portland.

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