Gonzaga wins NCAA opener

Gonzaga wins NCAA opener

FORT WORTH, Texas—The Gonzaga University baseball team jumped out to an early lead and rode Brandon Bailey’s right arm to a 5-1 win over Arizona State on Friday afternoon to open the NCAA’s Fort Worth Regional.

The Zags scored all five runs in the first three innings, and Bailey kept the Sun Devil offense at bay. Bailey threw 7.0 innings, giving up just one earned run on five hits, while striking out five and walking just one. Sam Hellinger finished off the final 2.0 innings without allowing a run and giving up just one hit.

Taylor Jones, Jeff Bohling and Nick Brooks notched two hits apiece on the day with Jones picking up a pair of runs batted in and Bohling and Brooks plating one run each.

The designated visiting team, Gonzaga wasted little time in getting on the scoreboard. Bohling gave the Zags a one-out base runner in the first with an infield single, and he scored when Jones doubled off the wall in left center. Two batters later, Jones scored on a ground ball from Justin Jacobs for a two-run GU advantage.

After Bailey retired the side in order in the bottom of the frame, the Zags added on a pair of runs in the second, doing so on four straight singles. Bohling and Jones posted the key hits with both bringing in a run, Bohling plating Jace VanDeBrake and Jones scoring Sam Brown.

Gonzaga’s fifth run came in the third when Brooks hit a double to left center, allowing shortstop Dustin Breshears to come home. Breshears drew a one-out walk for the Zags’ first base runner in the frame.

Arizona State got on the scoreboard in the fourth with an RBI fielder’s choice after the Zag defense just missed a double play. The Zags got out of a jam in the fifth, too, when Bailey gave up a pair of hits to begin the frame but used a fly out, a foul out, and a strikeout to end the threat.

Meanwhile, the Zags’ bats were stifled by Arizona State reliever Eli Lingos, who came on during the third. He allowed just one hit and issued one walk during his 6.1 innings of work to end the game. But with Bailey’s dominance and Hellinger out of the bullpen, GU’s lead held strong for its 36th win of the season.