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College baseball notebook: Gonzaga happy to be back home after tough nonconference road schedule

UPDATED: Thu., March 28, 2019

Gonzaga’s Ryan Sullivan bats during a nonconference  game against CSU Northridge on  Feb. 23  in Northridge, Calif. (Kyusung Gong / AP)
Gonzaga’s Ryan Sullivan bats during a nonconference game against CSU Northridge on Feb. 23 in Northridge, Calif. (Kyusung Gong / AP)

If Gonzaga’s 5-4 win over Washington in its home opener on Wednesday was any indication, one could say the slow-starting Bulldogs have been “champing at the bat” to play in Spokane.

The mercurial March weather hadn’t allowed it.

After playing its first six weeks on the road against solid nonconference opponents, including seventh-ranked Oregon State and No. 10 Texas A&M, Gonzaga (10-11, 3-3) has its first West Coast Conference homestand this weekend.

The Bulldogs’ three-game stretch against San Diego (17-8, 3-3) at Patterson Baseball Complex begins Friday.

Gonzaga, the preseason WCC favorite and defending conference tournament champion, opened WCC play at BYU earlier this month, taking two out of three games in Provo, Utah.

Last week, Pepperdine, the defending WCC regular-season champion, went 2-1 against the Bulldogs in Malibu, California, before the Zags clipped Washington at home this week.

“This was a good midweek quality win against a quality UW team,” Gonzaga coach Mark Machtolf said. “We battled through some sloppy play in the fifth (walk, hit batter, infield error), but showed some good team toughness to dig out a win.”

Gonzaga has five Pac-12 foes on its schedule – the Huskies, Washington State, Oregon, Oregon State and Utah.

The Bulldogs and WSU play in Pullman on Tuesday.

Gonzaga is led at the plate by sophomore standout Ernie Yake (27 hits, .325 batting average) and Ryan Sullivan (six home runs, 14 runs batted in).

Former North Central pitcher Alek Jacob has a 3-2 record, a 2.08 ERA and a team-high 35 strikeouts in 34 innings for the Bulldogs.

Jacob was recently named the WCC Pitcher of the Week. In a 3-2 win against Pepperdine last week, he struck out six, gave up two hits and didn’t yield a run in eight innings of relief.

WSU welcomes

No. 2 Stanford

The country’s No. 2 team travels to the Palouse this weekend for a three-game series at Bailey-Brayton Field, beginning Friday.

Stanford (15-3, 3-0 Pac-12) has won its past eight series against Washington State (6-17, 0-3) dating back to 2010.

The Cougars are on a nine-game losing streak.

Former Lake City standout and WSU freshman infielder Kyle Manzardo is batting .256, with 22 hits, 17 RBIs and two home runs.

Whitworth’s Kingma honored

Whitworth pitcher Ryan Kingma was named the Northwest Conference’s Athlete of the Week after holding rival George Fox scoreless through eight innings last week.

Kingma (5-2), a Bellevue native, gave up two singles and struck five in the Pirates’ 12-0 win over the Bruins on Sunday.

Whitworth (12-10, 9-3 NWC), which is tied atop the NWC standings with Pacific, travels to Pacific Lutheran this weekend for a three-game series.

CCS pitcher leads NWAC in saves

Community Colleges of Spokane pitcher Reed Harrington has five appearances and five total innings for the Sasquatch (11-7, 2-0 East Region) this season.

He has an NWAC-leading four saves.

Harrison, a Boise native who recently committed to Boise State, has struck out 10, allowed no runs and walked two.

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