View Full Version : Gonzaga Baseball: Zags Host LMU in Key WCC Showdown

05-12-2017, 05:56 PM
Zags Host LMU in Key WCC Showdown

Gonzaga third in WCC, one game behind the Lions...

May 11, 2017

Gonzaga Notes (http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/gonz/sports/m-basebl/auto_pdf/2016-17/release/release_20170511aaa.pdf)...


It hasn't actually been three months since GU's series against Saint Mary's, but it feels like it...the Bulldogs were off last weekend, using the 12-day break from games to prep for finals, to rest, and to practice...they last played April 28-30 in a home series against the Gaels...Saint Mary's took the first two games of that close trio of games, but GU salvaged an extra-innings win during the Sunday contest.

The Zags hit .299 and slugged .513 as a team against Gael pitching, scoring 23 runs, 20 of which came in the final two games...GU's rotation, however, allowed 27 runs, 23 of which were earned...GU had entered the weekend with a 3.20 ERA.


Gonzaga enters this weekend at third place in the WCC standings, a game behind LMU and two back of BYU...with the two teams ahead of them still left on the schedule, the Zags control their own destiny in terms of the hunt for a second consecutive conference title.

In the chase for a WCC Championship berth, the Zags are a game and a half ahead of fourth-place San Diego...Saint Mary's is in fifth, just a half-game out of fourth...GU holds the tiebreaker with the Toreros due to a series win in April, but the Gaels hold it over the Bulldogs with the series loss to end last month.


GU is 10-5 at home this season, with 12 of those 15 games coming in WCC play...the Bulldogs have seven more games at Patterson Baseball Complex & Washington Trust Field: three against both Loyola Marymount and BYU and one more versus Washington State.

The Zags have now reached 10 home wins in nine of Patterson's 11 seasons, and they're one win away from clinching a .500 season at home, a benchmark they've reached nine times already...season bests inside their home since the 2007 season include 19 wins (2009) and a .800 win percentage (2016).

Since the Zags' home season started March 17, the Bulldogs have gone 19-7 in all games, a majority of which have come in Spokane...they've lost just two conference series during that time.


The Zags' goal every game this year has been to win the final three innings, and they've done that well so far...GU is outscoring its opponents 87-41 in the seventh inning or later this season, including a 33-8 tally in the eighth and 6-2 score in extra frames.

They've come back to win eight games despite trailing entering the seventh inning...five of those comebacks have come in WCC play...the Zags have also won three times despite being tied after the sixth, meaning Gonzaga has scored the winning run during the final three innings of a game 11 times in 26 victories.


Loyola Marymount enters the weekend ranked No. 23 in the country by D1baseball.com and yet to lose a weekend series...they too were off from WCC play last weekend but had a pair of midweek contests, winning road games at UC Riverside and CSU Bakersfield.

LMU holds the overall series lead against GU 41-35, but the Zags are 24-22 versus the Lions under head coach Mark Machtolf (since 2004) and 19-9 against them in Spokane since 2000...last season, the Zags swept the season series in LA to clinch a berth in the WCC Championships...they got several strong performances from the pitching staff, including a six-hit, 11-K shutout from Eli Morgan.

The Lions sport one of the better offenses in the conference, coming in at No. 2 with a .297 batting average and averaging six runs a game...INF Phil Caulfield leads the way with a .381 average and 67 hits, while he and INF Brandon Shearer are the top run producers with 32 and 33 RBIs, respectively...both are one of 10 Lions with slugging percentages above .400.

Altogether, Loyola Marymount pitchers have posted a 3.52 ERA in 414.1 innings this season, the second-best tally in the league behind Gonzaga...their staff is headlined by RHP Cory Abott, who's 10-1 with a 1.79 ERA and 91 strikeouts...he threw the program's first-ever perfect game earlier this season...RHP Codie Paiva looks to be the relief ace with four saves and a 2.36 ERA, although four others have made at least one save on the year.


Junior RHP Eli Morgan is coming off his first career loss in conference play after allowing seven runs in 6.1 innings April 28 versus Saint Mary's...entering the game, he had been the only pitcher in WCC history to be 14-0 against conference foes in a career...despite the loss, the Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., native fanned 12 Gaels on the night, his fifth game of 12 or more strikeouts this season...he's still leading the WCC and sixth in the nation with 107 strikeouts on the year, tied for seventh-most by a Bulldog pitcher in a single season...he's also ninth in GU history with 250 career strikeouts, 18 away from a top five ranking...Morgan also had a 26.1-inning scoreless stretch from March 3 to March 25.

RHP Justin Vernia too is coming off a rough start against the Gaels, allowing seven runs in four frames while walking three for the first time this season...despite the tough outing, Vernia still has seven quality starts this season, four of which have come during WCC play...one of those was his first career complete game; he allowed just one unearned run and five hits while fanning seven versus San Francisco...from March 11 to April 1, Vernia went 23.0 innings without allowing an earned run...his strong senior season is coming on the heels of a standout summer last year in the Alaska Baseball League, where he posted a 0.58 ERA in 46.1 innings, pitching the Mat-Su Miners to a Top of the World Series championship.

Redshirt sophomore RHP Daniel Bies will make his second WCC start of the season Sunday, also getting the nod in March against San Francisco...Bies has been strong his last three outings, tossing a pair of six-inning starts against Washington State and keeping Saint Mary's off the board for five innings April 30 in a relief spot...since his first start against the Cougars April 17, the Woodinville, Wash., native has led the team with a 1.59 ERA, allowing three runs in 17.0 innings...he's won all three appearances, including his first career WCC victory to end the series against the Gaels...on April 25 at Washington State, Bies didn't allow a hit through 4.2 innings...that April 17 start versus WSU was Bies' first appearance since March 26, his start against San Francisco...

Gonzaga Article Link (http://www.gozags.com/sports/m-basebl/spec-rel/051117aaa.html)

05-12-2017, 07:55 PM
Gonzaga defeats LMU this evening 6-3...

Zags out hit the Lions 13 to 7...

Gonzaga's Eli Morgan was the winning pitcher...Morgan stuck out 11 Lions...

Zags improved to 27-16 overall and to 16-6 in the WCC...



05-12-2017, 08:11 PM
WarrenNolan.com ~ West Coast Conference (http://warrennolan.com/baseball/2017/conference/West-Coast)

05-13-2017, 05:27 AM
Zags Down LMU, Move into Second Place Tie

GU collects 13 hits, Morgan fans 11 in 6-3 victory

May 12, 2017

SPOKANE, Wash.—The Gonzaga baseball team returned to Patterson Baseball Complex after 12 days off, but the Zags showed few signs of rust as they began a key West Coast Conference series against Loyola Marymount with a 6-3 win Friday.

Gonzaga wasted little time in taking the lead, scoring in the bottom of the first. Leadoff man Sam Brown ripped a double down the right field line for an immediate runner in scoring position. Cleanup hitter Justin Jacobs brought him home with a single through the right side of the infield.

The Bulldogs added to their advantage with three tallies in the third inning after Brown once again led off with a hit. After that bunt single, the Zags loaded the bases with two of the next three batters. Third baseman Jeff Bohling then drove in Brown with a ground ball to short, and catcher Jake Roberts followed up with a well-struck single to left center, allowing both Jacobs and Tyler Frost to scamper home.

Loyola Marymount got on the scoreboard with two hits – the Lions’ first two of the game – in the fifth, but GU countered with two more in their half of the frame. Roberts hit a leadoff double of his own, and he came around on a single from Gunnar Schubert. Brown then drove in the GU shortstop with a sacrifice fly and a 6-1 Gonzaga advantage.

The Lions scored single runs in the seventh and the eighth to put the game at 6-3 with all of Loyola Marymount’s runs coming off GU starter Eli Morgan. Despite the runs, Morgan turned in another quality start, going 7.2 innings while striking out 11 batters. He earned the win – his eighth of the year – while Wyatt Mills picked up the save after getting the final four outs of the game.

Bulldog Bites:

With the win, the Bulldogs moved into a tie for second place in the WCC standings. Both they and Loyola Marymount are 16-6 in WCC play with five more conference games left. BYU tops the league with a 19-4 WCC mark, two and a half games ahead of second place.

As a team, the Zags combined for 13 hits Friday night, getting at least one base knock in six of their eight trips to the plate. Seven of nine starters registered a hit, and both Brown and Branson Trube led the way at three. Two more – Roberts and Vieth – saw two base knocks each.

Brown continued his hot play despite the long break, responding from a five-hit game April 30 with three more against LMU. Those three pushed the redshirt senior to 235 in his four-year Zag career, fifth-most by any Bulldog. The Mill Creek, Wash., native has 13 hits (13x24, 3 2B, 2 BB) over his last five games, good for a .542 batting average.

Morgan struck out 11 Lion batters Friday night, his sixth outing with double-digit strikeouts. He remains atop the West Coast Conference in the category, and his 118 on the year are the sixth-most by a Bulldog in a single season. He also moved into seventh on the program’s career strikeouts list; he’s fanned 261 batters three years.

Mills struck out three of his four batters faced for the save, his ninth of the year. The senior closer from Spokane now has 45 Ks on the year as opposed to just four walks. Two of those free passes were intentional...

Next Up:

The Zags (27-16, 16-6 WCC) and Lions (32-15, 16-6 WCC) continue the key series on Saturday, May 13 with another 6:00 p.m. contest. RHP Justin Vernia will take the mound for Gonzaga while Loyola Marymount will counter with RHP Cory Abbott.

Gonzaga Article Link (http://www.gozags.com/sports/m-basebl/spec-rel/051217aaa.html)

05-13-2017, 08:17 PM
LMU defeats Gonzaga 4-0 in the second game of the weekend series...

Zags were out hit by the Lions 14 to 5 tonight...

Justin Vernia took the loss tonight for the Zags...

LMU's Cory Abbott pitched a complete game for the Lions victory...



05-14-2017, 07:02 AM
Lions Win Pitchers’ Duel, Even Series

Vernia tosses seven innings, allows one run in 4-0 loss

May 13, 2017

Box Score (http://www.gozags.com/sports/m-basebl/stats/2016-2017/gon44.html)

SPOKANE, Wash.—With two of the best starting pitchers in the West Coast Conference on the hill, Saturday night’s game between Gonzaga and Loyola Marymount turned into the pitchers’ duel that everyone expected. The Lions got a complete game from their hurler, however, and won 4-0 at Patterson Baseball Complex & Washington Trust Field.

Both starters – Cory Abbott for LMU, Justin Vernia for GU – combined to allow just one run in 16.0 combined innings of work. The two did allow five and seven hits, respectively, but they pitched around those base knocks with Abbott stranding nine Bulldog runners and Vernia seven. Abbott picked up the win, his 11th of the season, while Vernia suffered the hard-luck loss, his third of the year.

In the sixth inning, the Lions scored the game’s first run, getting their only tally off Vernia. With men on first and second, Brandon Shearer sent a double down the right-field line, allowing the lead runner to reach home plate. With runners on second and third and just one down, Vernia intentionally walked Jimmy Hill to set up a double play. The Zags got that double-up, but not before Billy Wilson smashed a liner down the first base line. That ball found the glove of Zag first baseman Jake Vieth, who then stepped on the bag at first to escape the jam.

One inning later, the Zags saw their best scoring opportunity of the game to that point. Justin Jacobs led the inning off with a hard-hit single to the hole at short, and he advanced to third on a ground ball and throwing error during the at-bat of Jeff Bohling. With a man on third and one out, Patrick Chung came out to pinch hit. He attempted to lay down a bunt for a squeeze play, but Abbott’s high pitches prevented that, and Chung eventually struck out. Then, Jace VanDeBrake too struck out to end the frame.

With Vernia’s pitch count elevated, reliever Sam Hellinger took over pitching duties to begin the eighth and kept the Lions scoreless despite a pair of two-out singles. In the bottom of the frame, the Bulldogs attempted another rally after two-out base knocks from Sam Brown and Troy Johnston, but a groundout to first ended the threat and kept the game at 1-0.

Loyola Marymount got to Hellinger in the ninth inning, scoring three runs with five straight singles that were not hit terribly hard. Nonetheless, the Lions took a 4-0 lead into the bottom of the frame, where the Zags once again mounted an ill-fated rally attempt. There, Gonzaga batters drew three walks off Abbott to load the bases for pinch-hitter Nick Brooks. The redshirt junior took his first pitch for a strike and then took a home-run swing on the second, just missing for strike two. On the third pitch, Brooks hit a chopper to third base, where Shearer was able to corral the ball and touch the bag for the force out to end the game.

Bulldog Bites:

With the win, Loyola Marymount (17-6 WCC) re-took control of second place in the WCC standings after the Zags (16-7) moved into a tie at second Friday. The Lions trail top-ranked BYU by two and a half games, and GU trails the Cougars by three and a half. San Diego is fourth in the conference at 15-9, five games off the Cougars’ pace, and Saint Mary’s is in fifth place just a half-game behind the Toreros. BYU is the only team to have clinched a berth in the WCC Championships in two weeks; the top four teams in the regular season standings will advance to that conference tournament held in Stockton, Calif.

The Bulldogs were shut out for the first time in over a year Saturday night, posting five hits and nine total baserunners but not pushing a run across. The last time Gonzaga was shut out in a game was April 24, 2016 versus Santa Clara, a game that also took place at Patterson Baseball Complex. The Zags themselves had won seven shutouts in a row since and were 5-0 in shutouts this season entering the night

Abbott came into the game with a minuscule 0.18 ERA and perfect 7-0 record in WCC play. He was also leading the WCC in overall ERA, opposing batting average, and wins while being second in strikeouts. Vernia, meanwhile, was among the WCC’s top 10 in overall ERA, wins, and walks allowed.

Next Up:

The Zags (27-17, 16-7 WCC) and Lions (33-15, 17-6 WCC) will close out the series on Sunday, May 14, with a 3:00 p.m. rubber match. RHP Daniel Bies will take the mound for Gonzaga, while fellow righty Blake Redman gets the nod for Loyola Marymount.

Gonzaga Article Link

05-14-2017, 05:03 PM
This afternoon, Gonzaga defeats LMU 6-5 to take the weekend's series...

This is LMU's first weekend series loss of the season...

Jeff Bohling had the big hit for the Zags...a 3 run home run in the 3rd inning to give the Zags a 4-1 lead at the time...

Gonzaga improves to 28-17 overall and 17-7 in the WCC...



05-14-2017, 05:06 PM
WarrenNolan.com ~ West Coast Conference (http://warrennolan.com/baseball/2017/conference/West-Coast)

05-14-2017, 07:39 PM
Bulldogs Hold on For 6-5 Win, Series Victory

Zags hand LMU first series loss of season, move into tie for second place

May 14, 2017

Box Score (http://www.gozags.com/sports/m-basebl/stats/2016-2017/gon45.html)

SPOKANE, Wash.—In another game that came down to the final out, the Gonzaga baseball team picked up a huge victory Sunday as the Zags downed Loyola Marymount 6-5 at Patterson Baseball Complex & Washington Trust Field, clinching the weekend series and moving into a tie for second place in the West Coast Conference standings once again.

Gonzaga opened the scoring accord with a first-inning tally. With two down, Tyler Frost hit a strong single to center field, and Justin Jacobs drove him home by doubling down the right-field line. Loyola Marymount countered immediately, however, getting a sacrifice fly from Phil Caulfield with the bases loaded in the top of the second.

In the third, the Bulldogs retook the lead after Frost and Jacobs again spurred a rally. Frost tallied a one-out single to left, and Jacobs followed up with a knock to center. In the next at bat, Jeff Bohling crushed a 2-1 pitch from LMU starter Blake Redman over the fence in center field for his second home run of the season. The three-run blast gave the Bulldogs a 4-1 advantage.

Loyola Marymount again responded with a score of its own as Jimmy Hill led the fourth inning off with a solo shot off Daniel Bies, cutting Gonzaga’s lead down to two. In the fifth, however, the Bulldogs scored two more with a two-out single from Jake Roberts. The Bulldogs then loaded the bases with a pair of hit batsmen, but a groundout to short ended the frame.

The Lions again responded with two more in the top of the sixth with a two-RBI double from Cooper Uhl, but GU reliever Casey Legumina ended the frame with a ground ball. The freshman reliever entered the game with no outs in the fourth and pitched through the sixth, allowing just the two sixth-inning tallies to hold onto the lead.

Gonzaga once again went to the bullpen to begin the seventh as Wyatt Mills came out to attempt a three-inning save. The senior pitched around a leadoff single in the seventh inning before retiring the side in order in the eighth. In the ninth, the Lions loaded the bases for Jamey Smart, who hit a sacrifice fly out to left to bring in one run and cut the Zag lead to one at 6-5. In the next at bat, however, Mills got Steven Chavez to strikeout swinging, clinching the game win and series victory.

Bulldog Bites:

With the win, the Bulldogs moved into a tie for second with LMU in the WCC standings as both teams are 17-7 in conference play. They’re two games ahead of San Diego and Saint Mary’s in fourth. BYU leads the conference at 20-4 and has clinched a berth in the WCC Championships. The Bulldogs and Cougars will face each other next Thursday-Saturday in a three-game series in Spokane.

Mills earned his 10th save of the season, inheriting a 6-4 ballgame and going three innings to close out the win. That’s his longest save of the year, but he went longer than one inning in five of those 10. The senior also struck out five batters without allowing a walk Sunday, pushing his strikeout/walk ratio to a gaudy 50/4 on the year.

Jacobs has delivered in the cleanup roll in each of the last five games. He’s driven in at least one run in four of those while tallying hits in all five. During that stretch, he’s 8-for-16 (.500) with eight RBIs total, both figures tied for the team lead. His RBI in the first was the senior’s 30th of the season, tying him with Frost atop the squad leaderboard.

Legumina saw his first action since April 23, where he pitched 2.2 innings in a start at Portland. The win was his first of his career, and he’s now 1-4 during his first season of collegiate baseball. He’s also 1-1 with a 3.28 ERA against WCC foes.

Bohling’s third-inning blast was the Zags’ first of the series after they smacked eight against Saint Mary’s two weekends ago. With two four-baggers on the season, he’s the seventh Bulldog with multiple home runs.

The Zags handed Loyola Marymount its first weekend series loss of the season as the Lions entered the key three-game set at 10-0-1 in weekend series. The only blemish was a four-game split with Washington State back in February...

Next Up:

The Bulldogs (28-17, 17-7 WCC) next step away from conference play for one last game against local rival Washington State. That contest will take place Tuesday, May 16, at 6:00 p.m., again at Patterson Baseball Complex & Washington Trust Field. Gonzaga won the season’s first two games between the Inland Northwest foes and will be looking for the 2017 sweep.

Gonzaga Article Link (http://www.gozags.com/sports/m-basebl/recaps/051417aaa.html)