Zags host conference leader San Diego for 3-game series - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Zags host conference leader San Diego for 3-game series

Courtesy: Gonzaga Athletics Courtesy: Gonzaga Athletics

By Gonzaga Athletics

 

Friday, April 7 vs. San Diego Spokane, Wash. 6:00 p.m. Live Stats Live Video
RHP Eli Morgan (3-1, 2.04) vs. LHP Nick Sprengel (5-0, 2.61)
Saturday, April 8 vs. San Diego Spokane, Wash. 3:00 p.m. Live Stats Live Video
RHP Justin Vernia (4-2, 2.09) vs. LHP Chris Murphy (2-0, 2.25)
Sunday, April 9 vs. San Diego Spokane, Wash. 12:00 p.m. Live Stats Live Video
TBA vs. RHP Paul Richan (3-0, 1.82)

A PCH (PITCHERS CAP HITTING) WEEKEND:

  • Gonzaga went 2-2 during an extended weekend up and down the Pacific Coast Highway in California, going 1-2 at Pepperdine in Malibu before beating UC Santa Barbara 4-1 on Monday...the series loss to the Waves was their first of the WCC slate, but they rebounded with their first-ever win in Santa Barbara.
  • All four games were pitching-dominant as Zag hurlers combined for just a 1.82 ERA and nine runs at Pepperdine and UCSB, and they limited opposing batters to a .183 batting average...their opponents posted a 2.25 ERA while holding the Bulldog bats to a .203 average.

CATCH THE GAME FROM EVERY ANGLE:

  • Gonzaga returns to Patterson Baseball Complex & Washington Trust Field this weekend, allowing Zag fans to watch them in person at home...the Bulldogs are 6-2 at home this year.
  • The Zags are back on the radio this weekend as every home game from here on out will be carried by 1510 AM KGA...Tom Hudson will call play-by-play while former Zag coach Steve Hertz will provide color commentary.
  • Friday's contest will also be broadcast on local television by SWX...Sam Adams will be the play-by-play announcer with Michael Jackson adding commentary.

JUST ABOUT THERE:

  • Head coach Mark Machtolf's next win will be his 400th career victory...he's at 399 after two wins in California...Mac claimed career win No. 300 Feb. 21, 2014, versus Incarnate Word, 187 games ago.
  • Machtolf would be the second head coach in the Bulldogs' Division I history with 400 wins...Steve Hertz is the program's all-time leader with 637...Machtolf has the second-most wins and third-best win percentage (.546) during the Division I era (since 1960).
  • Machtolf also has the third-highest win total among active coaches in the WCC...San Diego's Rich Hill is the winningest coach in WCC history, and San Francisco's Nino Giarratano is second with 515 victories...Machtolf is already seventh all-time in conference history in coaching wins.

THREE WEEKS OF STRONG PITCHING:

  • The Zags' pitching staff has posted a 2.30 ERA since WCC play started three weeks ago on March 17...in those 12 games, the Bulldogs have allowed 29 earned runs - 36 total - while posting two shutouts and keeping their opponents to three or fewer runs seven times...the staff has held opposing hitters to just a .222 batting average during that time while registering over three and a half strikeouts for every walk issued.
  • Three starters - Eli Morgan, Justin Vernia, and Casey Legumina - have posted ERAs of 1.50 or lower during this period, and both Mac Lardner and Wyatt Mills have ERAs well under 3.00 as well.
  • Morgan has struck out 26 batters since WCC play started, Vernia 21, and both Legumina and Mills have fanned 17...Mills' 17 strikeouts have come in just 8.2 innings, meaning nearly two-thirds of his last 26 recorded outs have come via the strikeout.

DISCOVERED BY THE GERMANS IN 1904...:

  • Gonzaga's history with San Diego spans the test of time - or just the past few decades - but it has been a fairly tight series...the Toreros hold a 10-game edge at 35-45-1, but the Zags have won the last two series and haven't lost a three-game set to the Toreros in Spokane in 12 years...last season, Gonzaga won the first two games at San Diego to clinch a share of the WCC regular season title.
  • The Toreros are nationally ranked by numerous outlets, reaching as high as 19 by D1baseball.com...USD enters the weekend series with a 20-7 record, topping the WCC at 8-1...they had two midweek games earlier in the week, falling at No. 13 Cal State Fullerton 13-2 Tuesday before beating New Mexico 7-2 at home a day later...they also have series sweeps over Portland and San Francisco along with a win versus Santa Clara.
  • San Diego's lineup has combined for a .268/.367/.427 slash line and have hit a league-leading 28 home runs this season...1B Roman Garcia tops the WCC with eight four-baggers, while OF Hunter Mercado-Hood and C Riley Adams are each tied for second with seven.
  • The pitching staff is third in the conference with a 3.80 ERA, sitting behind the Zags and Pepperdine...Sunday starter Paul Richan leads the league with a 1.82 ERA while the other two are among the WCC's top 10...ace Nick Sprengel tops the team with 46 strikeouts, one more than Chris Murphy, and Troy Conyers is the bullpen ace, coming into the weekend with seven saves.

PITCHING LINES:

  • Friday night starter Eli Morgan is coming off his third complete game of the season, going the distance for a 2-1 win at Pepperdine April 2...during game one of the doubleheader, Morgan allowed just one run on three hits and struck out five, earning his fourth Rawlings WCC Pitcher of the Week award...the Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., leads the WCC and is seventh in the nation with 67 strikeouts on the year, and he's the active Division I leader with six career shutouts...he's tied for fourth with seven complete games...he's also unbeaten at 11-0 with a 1.10 ERA against conference foes, allowing just 15 earned runs in 122.1 innings.
  • RHP Justin Vernia is coming off his first loss in over a month after giving up five runs in 7.0 innings at Pepperdine April 2...most of the damage came on a grand slam in the fifth inning...the senior from Issaquah, Wash., didn't allow an earned run in his first two WCC outings, posting his first career complete game March 25 versus San Francisco at home...he's fanned 21 batters in his last three games, including a career-high nine versus Pacific...Vernia is third in the WCC with a 2.09 ERA and 1.04 WHIP and fourth by only allowing 1.52 walks per inning...he hasn't walked more than two batters in any appearance this season.
  • Sunday's starter has been announced yet, but there are plenty of candidates...four other pitchers have started at least one game this season: RHP Casey Legumina (5), RHP Daniel Bies (4), LHP Mac Lardner (4), and LHP Calvin LeBrun (1)..Legumina started at Pepperdine last Sunday and set career highs in innings pitched (7.0) and strikeouts (8), while Lardner tossed 5.0 innings in a start at UC Santa Barbara Monday...the lefty did not allow an earned run but did pick up his third win of the season.


LAST GAME'S STARTING LINEUP:

Pos. No. Name Yr. Notable
C 23 Jake Roberts Sr. Has thrown out last three attempted base stealers (since March 13).
1B 22 Jake Vieth Jr. Hit game-winning two-run home run in game one at Pepperdine April 1.
2B 37 Justin Jacobs Sr. .307 career hitter vs. San Diego...7 H, 2 2B, 5 RBIs, 3 walks.
3B 17 Jeff Bohling RSr. Four hits, two of which were doubles, at San Diego last year.
SS 6 Gunnar Schubert Jr. Season-long six game hit streak at home March 18-25.
LF 11 Sam Brown RSr. Eight games played, 19 hits away from GU's career top 10 lists.
CF 16 Tyler Frost Jr. Tied for second in WCC and equaled personal best with seven HRs.
RF 38 Daniel Fredrickson RSo. Hitting .385 (10H, 2 2B, 6 R, 4 RBI) at home this season.
DH 32 Nick Brooks RSo. First multi-hit game of the season April 3 at UCSB
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