Junior Marco Gonzales threw a complete game shutout and struck out nine batters as Gonzaga University baseball downed No. 2 University of Arkansas 3-0 at the Coca-Cola Classic on Kansas City Royals practice field five Friday. Cory LeBrun had two hits for the Zags and drove in the first Bulldog in the sixth in the three-run inning for Gonzaga.
The Bulldogs improve to 5-4 and the Razorbacks drop its second in a row to move to 7-3.
Gonzales (2-1), preseason first-team All-American, got the starting nod and did not disappoint. The southpaw scattered eight hits in his 9 innings on the bump. The performance lowered his ERA to 2.45.
"Marco pitched an outstanding game," head coach Mark Machtolf said. "He was on from the start and was mixing his pitches well. He was able to get ahead with a steady mix and just really pitched."
Gonzales' last shutout was Apr. 28 when the Zags hosted Loyola Marymount University in Spokane and Gonzales went 11 innings for the win.
For Arkansas, Barrett Astin (1-1) got the start and got into trouble in the top of the sixth. Astin retired the first batter but gave up singles to Clayton Eslick and Zach Abbruzza to put Bulldogs on first and second. The next batter, Phoenix native Cory Lebrun, singled to left center driving in Eslick.
Travis Forbes then stepped up to the plate and singled to right field to advance LeBrun to second and Abbruzza to third. However, a throwing error from the outfielder allowed Abbruzza to score and LeBrun to advance to third. Gonzaga took a 2-0 lead.
The final Gonzaga run of the inning came in from Billy Moon who hit a ball to the second baseman who made a fielder's choice to the shortstop covering second, allowing LeBrun to score.
"Offensively, we put pressure on the defense all day," Machtolf said. "We had a ton of quality at bats and saw great days from LeBrun and Moon."
The three runs were all that Gonzales needed.
The lefty capped off his performance by getting a strike out and two pop flies to Moon in left field to end the game.
The Zags had eight hits in the game with the first seven hitters in the batting order reaching base.
Gonzaga continues playing in the Coca-Cola Classic Saturday when the Zags take on future West Coast Conference member University of Pacific at 3 p.m. The Bulldogs and Tigers have split their two games against each other this season.