Gonzaga Baseball Rolls to WCC Championship, 17-2
STOCKTON, Calif. — Senior Jake Vieth hit two homers and Gonzaga baseball rolled on offense to a WCC Tournament Championship and NCAA Tournament berth with a 17-2 win over top-seeded Pepperdine on Saturday in Stockton, Calif.
“You can’t beat that, our pitchers have carried us all year and I loved the way our offense was dialed in this weekend,” head coach Mark Machtolf said. “The way the guys responded again this weekend was phenomenal.”
The win gives Gonzaga the conference’s automatic qualifying spot in next weekend’s NCAA Tournament Regional rounds. It will mark the second time in the last three years that GU has earned a berth into the NCAAs, third time under Machtolf and 10 th overall appearance.
Jake Vieth put the Zags out in front early with a two-run homer in the second and broke the game open with a three-run blast in the sixth. That was all starting pitcher Mac Lardner needed, going 7.2 innings and allowing just two runs on six hits with seven strikeouts and no walks. GU’s offense just kept going, putting up three more in the seventh and four in the eighth and ninth. GU’s 17 runs and 18 hits were both season-highs.
The Zags huge offensive numbers were led by Vieth’s two-homer, six-RBI game. Carson Breshears posted four hits, Austin Pinorini knocked in a pair and scored twice on two hits, and Ernie Yake had three doubles, an RBI and a run scored.
Gonzaga struck first with Vieth’s two-run homer in the second inning. Pinorini continued his hot streak at the plate with a leadoff single to put a man on for Vieth, who cleared the fence easily in the deepest part of the ballpark in left centerfield.
The Zags added one more on a sacrifice fly by Schubert in the third, but Pepperdine answered in the bottom of the fourth with a two-RBI double down the left field line.
GU posted zeroes in the fourth and fifth on offense, but Vieth came to bat again in the sixth with two runners on and promptly rocketed a shot well over the right field fence for a three-run blast for a 6-2 lead.
The Zags piled on three more runs in the seventh with a one-out RBI double by Yake and a two-out two-RBI double off the bat of Austin Pinorini that brought home a pair and the rout was on.
The Zags will learn their NCAA Tournament Regional location during the NCAA Selection Show on Monday morning at 9 a.m. PT. The national seeds will be released by the NCAA on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. PT.