Zags hold off LMU 6-5 to win crucial WCC series - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Zags hold off LMU 6-5 to win crucial WCC series

Gonzaga Athletics

SPOKANE, Wash.—In another game that came down to the final out, the Gonzaga baseball team picked up a huge victory Sunday as the Zags downed Loyola Marymount 6-5 at Patterson Baseball Complex & Washington Trust Field, clinching the weekend series and moving into a tie for second place in the West Coast Conference standings once again.

Gonzaga opened the scoring accord with a first-inning tally. With two down, Tyler Frost hit a strong single to center field, and Justin Jacobs drove him home by doubling down the right-field line. Loyola Marymount countered immediately, however, getting a sacrifice fly from Phil Caulfield with the bases loaded in the top of the second.

In the third, the Bulldogs retook the lead after Frost and Jacobs again spurred a rally. Frost tallied a one-out single to left, and Jacobs followed up with a knock to center. In the next at bat, Jeff Bohling crushed a 2-1 pitch from LMU starter Blake Redman over the fence in center field for his second home run of the season. The three-run blast gave the Bulldogs a 4-1 advantage.

Loyola Marymount again responded with a score of its own as Jimmy Hill led the fourth inning off with a solo shot off Daniel Bies, cutting Gonzaga’s lead down to two. In the fifth, however, the Bulldogs scored two more with a two-out single from Jake Roberts. The Bulldogs then loaded the bases with a pair of hit batsmen, but a groundout to short ended the frame.

The Lions again responded with two more in the top of the sixth with a two-RBI double from Cooper Uhl, but GU reliever Casey Legumina ended the frame with a ground ball. The freshman reliever entered the game with no outs in the fourth and pitched through the sixth, allowing just the two sixth-inning tallies to hold onto the lead.

Gonzaga once again went to the bullpen to begin the seventh as Wyatt Mills came out to attempt a three-inning save. The senior pitched around a leadoff single in the seventh inning before retiring the side in order in the eighth. In the ninth, the Lions loaded the bases for Jamey Smart, who hit a sacrifice fly out to left to bring in one run and cut the Zag lead to one at 6-5. In the next at bat, however, Mills got Steven Chavez to strikeout swinging, clinching the game win and series victory.

Bulldog Bites:

  • With the win, the Bulldogs moved into a tie for second with LMU in the WCC standings as both teams are 17-7 in conference play. They’re two games ahead of San Diego and Saint Mary’s in fourth. BYU leads the conference at 20-4 and has clinched a berth in the WCC Championships. The Bulldogs and Cougars will face each other next Thursday-Saturday in a three-game series in Spokane. 
  • Mills earned his 10th save of the season, inheriting a 6-4 ballgame and going three innings to close out the win. That’s his longest save of the year, but he went longer than one inning in five of those 10. The senior also struck out five batters without allowing a walk Sunday, pushing his strikeout/walk ratio to a gaudy 50/4 on the year.
  • Jacobs has delivered in the cleanup roll in each of the last five games. He’s driven in at least one run in four of those while tallying hits in all five. During that stretch, he’s 8-for-16 (.500) with eight RBIs total, both figures tied for the team lead. His RBI in the first was the senior’s 30th of the season, tying him with Frost atop the squad leaderboard.
  • Legumina saw his first action since April 23, where he pitched 2.2 innings in a start at Portland. The win was his first of his career, and he’s now 1-4 during his first season of collegiate baseball. He’s also 1-1 with a 3.28 ERA against WCC foes.
  • Bohling’s third-inning blast was the Zags’ first of the series after they smacked eight against Saint Mary’s two weekends ago. With two four-baggers on the season, he’s the seventh Bulldog with multiple home runs.
  • The Zags handed Loyola Marymount its first weekend series loss of the season as the Lions entered the key three-game set at 10-0-1 in weekend series. The only blemish was a four-game split with Washington State back in February.

Zag Speak:

Associate head coach Danny Evans

  • “We knew coming in, this was going to be a battle. It always is with them; they’re very well-coached and a tough baseball team. We knew this weekend would swing it one way or another, and our guys were ready. We were really pleased and proud with the way they came out and competed.”
  • “With [LMU’s] pitching, we knew that we were going to have to manufacture some runs. Jacobs did a great job twice with hit-and-runs and being able to move the runners. Then, Bohling with the big home run there, he stuck with it despite a tough series and delivered a huge knock for our guys.”

Gonzaga right-handed pitcher Wyatt Mills

  • “We know that every series we’ve played this year, we’ve showed the signs of being able to beat every other team in every other series. Some of them have gone other ways, and we’ve learned from it. This late in the season, I’d take our team over anyone.”

Next Up:

The Bulldogs (28-17, 17-7 WCC) next step away from conference play for one last game against local rival Washington State. That contest will take place Tuesday, May 16, at 6:00 p.m., again at Patterson Baseball Complex & Washington Trust Field. Gonzaga won the season’s first two games between the Inland Northwest foes and will be looking for the 2017 sweep.

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