Zags post season-high numbers in 17-1 win over BYU
The Gonzaga University baseball team scored 10 runs in the third inning and added seven more late in the game to finish its regular-season with a 17-1 West Coast Conference victory over BYU Saturday afternoon.
Gonzaga, which finishes the regular-season 34-22 overall, now waits to see what their NCAA Baseball Championship fate is. The selection show is set for Monday at 9 a.m. PDT on ESPNU.
The Bulldogs will also be waiting to see what the final WCC standings will be. The Bulldogs finished the WCC season 14-10 and are currently a half of a game ahead of the University of San Francisco and Loyola Marymount University, which both are 13-10, for third place in the standings. The Bulldogs can at least tie with either team for third place or can take sole possession if both the Lions and Dons fall to their respective opponents Sunday. The Dons are at Saint Mary’s College while the Lions are visiting Santa Clara University.
The final game of the regular-season started an hour late due to a rain delay. But the delay did not disrupt Andy Hunter, who threw eight brilliant innings allowing one run on four hits and a walk while punching out seven.
After two scoreless innings, the Bulldogs scored all the runs they needed in the third. Clayton Eslick, Steven Halcomb and Royce Bolinger quickly loaded the bases with three consecutive singles into the outfield and Tyler Westensee (0-3) walked Alex Stanford and his pitching counterpart Andy Hunter to force in two runs and end his day early. After Adam Miller checked into the game, Marco Gonzales cleared the bases with a double to center field and a throwing error by second baseman Adam Law allowed the first baseman to advance to third. After Maxx Garrett drew a walk, Billy Moon followed with a RBI single to center field. Although Alex Bonczyk struck out, Eslick drew a walk in his second at-bat in the inning. Miller’s day ended after a two-run single by Halcomb. Cameron Keysor tried to stop the bleeding but a two-run double by Bolinger put the Bulldogs ahead of the Cougars 10-0. Keysor ended the inning with back-to-back groundouts.
The Bulldogs would go scoreless in the fourth inning but would bring across at least a run in each inning the rest of the game. Similar the third inning, the Bulldogs quickly loaded the bases with three consecutive singles by Bonczyk, Eslick and Halcomb. Bolinger and Stanford both hit sacrifice flies to right field to give the Bulldogs a 12-0 lead.
Gonzaga took a 14-0 lead in the sixth inning when Gonzales hit a lead-off single to right and Billy Moon hit a two-run shot to right field.
Cameron Alvarado opened the seventh with a pinch-hit walk, Payden Cawley Lamb and Gonzales both singled to right to load the bases and a double play ball hit by Garrett was enough for Alvarado to score the 15th run.
Hunter retired 15 of the first 18 batters he faced, which included nine straight between the third and sixth innings, but the Cougars stopped his momentum in the seventh. Hall led off the inning with a base hit to second base, advanced to second on Alex Wolfe’s groundout to first and scored the Cougars only run on Christian Mua’s single up the middle.
Bonczyk christened the eighth frame with a single to center, advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on Halcomb’s double to center.
With one out in the ninth, Garrett was hit by the pitch and scored the Bulldogs 17th run on Brock Slavin’s double to opposite field.
Ryan Leahy took over for Hunter in the ninth and quickly retired the side in order on 12 pitches.