View Full Version : Gonzaga Baseball: Top-Seeded Zags Begin WCC Championships vs. Saint Mary's

05-24-2017, 03:26 PM
Top-Seeded Zags Begin WCC Championships vs. Saint Mary's

First pitch in the conference tournament starts Thursday, May 25, at 3:00 p.m.

May 24, 2017

Gonzaga Notes (http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/gonz/sports/m-basebl/auto_pdf/2016-17/release/release_20170524aaa.pdf) | Saint Mary's Notes (http://grfx.cstv.com/photos/schools/gonz/sports/m-basebl/auto_pdf/2016-17/release/release_20170524aaa_stma.pdf)...

RHP Eli Morgan (9-2, 2.85) vs. LHP Ken Waldichuk (3-3, 1.36)


Gonzaga saw its final WCC Championships tune-up Monday, May 22 at Fresno State, falling 9-2 to the more southerly Bulldogs...Fresno State took an early lead, but the Zags remained within two runs until the home team scored four unearned runs for a 7-2 advantage...a two-run home run in the seventh put the score at its final.


This is the second time the Zags have been the championship’s top seed, also taking No. 1 in the very first tournament in 2013...Gonzaga has reached Banner Island Ballpark four times in the competition’s five-year history...Gonzaga and BYU are the only two schools to qualify for four WCC tournaments.

After also winning a share of the WCC regular season title last season (with BYU and Saint Mary’s), the Bulldogs have won back-to-back conference titles for the first time since 1980-81...that was when Gonzaga was part of the NorPac Conference.

Gonzaga has now won four WCC regular season titles (2009, 2013, 2016, 2017)...in 2001, they also finished atop the WCC Coast Division standings.


Gonzaga head coach Mark Machtolf was named WCC Coach of the Year on Tuesday, his third career honor...Mac also earned the award in 2009 and 2013 after leading the Zags to WCC pennants.
The 14-year head coach earned his 400th career win April 7 versus San Diego...his 415 wins are the sixth-most by any manager in WCC history and third-most among active coaches.


In addition to Machtolf’s Coach of the Year, six Zag players received All-Conference honors...junior RHP Eli Morgan led the way, earning his second consecutive First Team All-WCC designation.

A trio of seniors earned Second Team All-WCC: OF Sam Brown, RHP Wyatt Mills, and C Jake Roberts...all three received their first career postseason awards.

Redshirt sophomore OF Daniel Fredrickson picked up All-WCC Honorable Mention honors, also the first of his career...finally, freshman DH Troy Johnston was named to the conference’s All-Freshman team.


After having their conference bye to open May, the Zags have gone on a 5-2 tear including series wins against co-champs Loyola Marymount and BYU...Over the last two-and-a-half weeks, GU batters have hit .323 and scored 40 runs, averaging 5.7 a game...three Bulldogs Jake Vieth, Justin Jacobs, and Branson Trube have hit over .400 during that stretch, and four more are batting well above .300...INF Jeff Bohling leads the team with eight RBIs while OF Tyler Frost has scored seven times.

The pitching staff has posted a 3.48 ERA in the last seven games despite all three teams faced (LMU, BYU, and Fresno State) averaging at least six runs a game, allowing 29 runs in 62 innings...RHP Wyatt Mills leads the team with a 1.12 ERA over that stretch, saving three games and striking out 13 batters while not walking anyone...starter Eli Morgan is 2-0 with a 2.35 ERA in 15.1 innings against the other top teams in the WCC, striking out 21 batters.

Since the Zags’ home season started March 17, the Bulldogs have gone 24-9 in all games, a majority of which (21) have come in Spokane...they’ve lost just two weekend series during that time.


Saint Mary’s took the regular season series two games to one during a tightly-contested three days in Spokane to end April...in game one, the Gaels handed ace Eli Morgan his first career WCC loss, tagging the junior for all seven runs and 11 hits...despite the scores, Morgan still fanned 12 Gaels batters.

The last two games were both extra-innings affairs decided by one run...in the Saturday contest, both teams matched each other punch for punch until the Gaels scored one in the top of the 10th...in the bottom of the frame, the Zags put the tying run on base, but the Gaels held on for the 9-8 win...in the Sunday matchup, Sam Brown tied the program record with five hits in a game, including the game-tying RBI single in the bottom of the ninth...pinch-hitter Jace VanDeBrake won it with an RBI single in the 10th, putting the score at 12-11...RHP Daniel Bies pitched 5.0 shutout innings in relief for the win.

Brown led the Zags in hitting that series with nine hits and a .600 average while catcher Jake Roberts homered in all three games, also picking up three singles and a walk for a 1.654 OPS...in all, the Zags hit seven home runs during that series, the third-most in a series since 2008.


Gonzaga returned to the national rankings on Monday, getting voted No. 22 in the Collegiate Baseball poll...the Zags also received votes in the NCBWA and USA Today Coaches Polls.

The Bulldogs have outscored opponents 88-50 in the seventh inning or later this year, including a 34-10 tally in the eighth inning...they have come back to win eight games despite trailing upon entering the seventh...GU has also won three games when tied heading into the seventh, meaning the Zags have rallied for 11 late-game wins...that’s over one third of their victories (11 of 31).


Junior RHP Eli Morgan will open the WCC Championships for GU...the ace is fourth in the nation and second in Gonzaga history with 128 strikeouts this season...he’s fanned at least 10 batters in seven outings this year, including each of his last four...he’s twice struck out a career-high 15 batters once at Cal State Fullerton, once at Portland and is one of four pitchers in the nation with multiple games of 15 or more Ks...the Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., is also the Division I active leader with five career shutouts, two of which came this season...on March 17 versus Pacific, he retired the first 23 batters he faced, losing a perfect game with two down in the eighth inning...that was in the midst of a 27.1 scoreless inning streak that started Feb. 24 at UCLA and ended March 25 versus San Francisco...furthermore, Morgan has gone 16-1 in his career in conference play with a 1.81 ERA and 179 total strikeouts...he’s lost just twice to teams from the WCC, falling to Saint Mary’s last year in the conference tournament and this season to open series April 28...

Gonzaga Article Link (http://www.gozags.com/sports/m-basebl/spec-rel/052417aaa.html)

05-25-2017, 07:31 PM
Offensive Surge Pushes Zags into Winner's Bracket

Gonzaga scored 10 runs in innings 5-7 for an 11-3 win over Saint Mary's

May 25, 2017

Box Score (http://www.gozags.com/sports/m-basebl/stats/2016-2017/gon50.html)

STOCKTON, Calif.--It took a few innings, but the Bulldog offense hit top gear Thursday afternoon, propelling the top-seeded Gonzaga baseball team past fourth-seed Saint Mary's 11-3 and into the winners' bracket of the West Coast Conference Championships at Banner Island Ballpark in Stockton, Calif.

Saint Mary's scored the game's first runs, scoring twice in the top of the third off atypical wildness from GU starter Eli Morgan. After a leadoff double, the Gaels loaded the bases with a pair of walks. A wild pitch then scored Brett Rasso from third base, and Austin Chauvin hit an infield single for the second SMC tally.

Gonzaga pulled one back immediately, plating one in the bottom of the frame. Shortstop Gunnar Schubert led the frame off with a blooper into left for a single, and both Troy Johnston and Tyler Frost joined him on base to load them up with one out. Cleanup hitter Justin Jacobs then hit a grounder to second, but the Gaels were unable to turn a double play, allowing Schubert to score and cut the Zags' deficit to one.

In the fifth, Gonzaga took the lead on three hits and some shaky Saint Mary's defense. Johnston led the frame off with well-struck home run to right field, one that left the stadium grounds on one hop. Frost then singled up the middle for another knock, and Jacobs took second base when Rasso dropped a fly ball to left center, sending Frost to third. Frost then scored when Jeff Bohling hit a high pop into shallow right field that fell for a base hit, giving Gonzaga a 3-2 advantage.

The Bulldogs broke the game open in the sixth, scoring six runs and sending all nine men to the plate. Two of the first three Zags reached in the frame, putting runners on the corners with just one out for Johnston. The freshman then singled through the right side, allowing the lead runner to score and chasing SMC starter Ken Waldichuk from the game. Frost then loaded the bases by drawing a walk off reliever Johnny York, and then Jacobs lifted a ball out to left for a sacrifice fly. With two runners on base, Bohling then doubled to the left center gap to clear the bases, and Jake Roberts capped off the inning with a two-run shot down the left field line for a 9-2 lead.

One inning later, the Zags tacked on two more with a sacrifice fly from Sam Brown and an RBI double from Frost, putting the game at 11-2.

Saint Mary's salvaged one run in the ninth, but that was all as the game ended 11-3 in favor of the top-seeded Zags. Morgan picked up the win, his 10th of the season while Waldichuk suffered the loss, his fourth.

Bulldog Bites:

Gonzaga scored at least 10 runs for the seventh time this season and the third time in its last five games. Six different Zags tallied at least one RBI on the night, led by Bohling's three. Johnston, Jacobs, and Roberts each tallied two RBIs on the day.

Those 11 runs came on 14 hits as the Zags out-hit Saint Mary's 14-10. Gonzaga's reached double-digits in the hits column 26 times, including in each of the last five games and eight of the last 10.

Morgan once again reached double-digits in strikeouts Thursday, fanning 10 Gaels batters. He's struck out at least 10 batters in each of his last five outings and eight times total this season. The junior from Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., has now fanned 138 batters this season, seven shy of the program's single-season record. He also moved into third on Gonzaga's career strikeouts list with 281 passing Brandon Bailey, Marco Gonzales, and Tyler Olson.

The Zags picked up their first win as the top seed at the WCC Championships. This is the second time in the tournament's history Gonzaga was the top seed, also earning the top spot in 2013. That year, the Bulldogs lost both games they played in the competition.

Roberts extended his on-base streak to 21 games with a single in the second inning, the longest such streak on the team this season. He later stole second base, his first steal of the season and fourth of his GU career.

Mac Talk: Thoughts from Gonzaga head coach Mark Machtolf:

"We knew coming into this that the top four teams are all equal. It doesn't matter what seed you are when you get here. With how hard Saint Mary's battles, we knew we were going to be in for a fight. We're really proud of our guys for settling in and figuring out what Waldichuk was doing the first time through. Troy set the tone, and our older guys came around."

"That was a really great effort by Eli. They [Saint Mary's] did a good job of fighting off pitches, getting deep into pitch counts, and Eli really battled them long enough for us to get back in there offensively."

Next Up:

The Zags (32-18) will now play a winner's bracket game Friday, May 26, the second day of the WCC Championships. They'll face the winner of BYU and Loyola Marymount, who are playing Thursday's late game. Should Gonzaga win on May 26, the Zags will play for the tournament's championship on Saturday, May 27, and a loss will send Gonzaga to an elimination game on at 7:00 p.m. May 26.

Gonzaga Article Link (http://www.gozags.com/sports/m-basebl/recaps/052517aaa.html)

05-25-2017, 07:38 PM

05-26-2017, 06:23 PM
Friday evening, Gonzaga defeats LMU 3-1...

As a result, the Zags will play for the WCC tournament's championship on Saturday, May 27 at 3:05pm...

LMU will have to play BYU later this evening for the right to play Gonzaga tomorrow afternoon...

05-26-2017, 08:43 PM
Vernia Powers Zags into Title Game at WCC Champs

Senior right-hander throws 6.2 shutout innings as GU downs LMU 3-1

May 26, 2017

Box Score (http://www.gozags.com/sports/m-basebl/stats/2016-2017/gon51.html) | Photo Gallery (http://www.gozags.com/view.gal?id=206260)

STOCKTON, Calif.—A host of scouts came out to Friday’s WCC Championships game between top-seeded Gonzaga and second-seed Loyola Marymount to see LMU starter Cory Abbott Friday afternoon, but it was Gonzaga starter Justin Vernia who stole the show as he powered the Zags to a 3-1 win and a berth in the tournament title game.

Vernia dazzled Friday, tossing 6.2 scoreless innings and allowing just three hits. The senior struck out five batters and walked just one – that coming in the third inning – while allowing only three hits. The first hit came in the third inning – a blooper into shallow left from Nick Sogard – but he got out of it with strong backing by his defense. Second baseman Justin Jacobs collected a slow grounder off the bat of Phil Caulfield and glove-flipped it to shortstop Gunnar Schubert, covering the bag at second. Schubert then completed the 4-6-3 double play with a strike to Jake Vieth at first to end the frame.

Abbott matched Vernia by going scoreless through three innings, but the Bulldogs changed that in the top of the fourth. The first two Zag hitters – Troy Johnston and Tyler Frost – drew walks, and then Justin Jacobs was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Third baseman Jeff Bohling then lifted a fly ball to right, allowing Johnston to score on the sacrifice. Abbott ended the frame with a fielder’s choice and a strikeout, however, escaping further damage.

In the bottom of the fourth, Vernia found a grove. The double play to end the third kicked off a stretch of 12 consecutive batters retired that lasted until two down in the seventh inning. At that point, LMU designated hitter Steven Chavez knuckled a single into right field. Brandon Shearer followed up with a knock to left, and that was it for Vernia, who exited the game in place of Wyatt Mills. The Zag closer then induced an inning-ending ground ball to end the threat.

The Zags picked up a huge pair of runs in the top of the eighth, chasing Abbott from the game in the process. Johnston led off with a single to right center, and then Frost followed up with the dagger, ripping a triple down the right field line and allowing the freshman to score. The Lions then turned to reliever Braydon Salzman, but Jacobs greeted the freshman with a fly ball to right field, allowing Frost to score and push Gonzaga’s lead to 3-0.

Loyola Marymount jumped on the board in the eighth as Billy Wilson led off with a solo home run to right, but Mills clamped down. The Spokane native struck out the final two batters in the eighth and sitting down the ninth in order to confirm the win and the place in the WCC Championship game.

Vernia picked up the win, advancing to 7-3 on the year. Mills earned his 12th save of the year while tossing 2.1 innings, allowing just one run on one hit and striking out two.

Bulldog Bites:

Vernia pitched another outstanding outing against the Lions, two weeks after allowing just one run in seven innings of work in his regular-season outing against them May 13. In the two starts, the senior from Issaquah, Wash., has posted a 0.66 ERA, allowing one run in 13.2 innings while striking out 10 Lion batters and allowing just 10 hits.

Both Loyola Marymount and Gonzaga are ranked in the Collegiate Baseball poll this week, marking the first game the Bulldogs have played this year where both teams have been ranked. LMU is ranked No. 27 in the poll, and Gonzaga jumped in at No. 22. Gonzaga is now 10-5 against ranked foes this season.

With the save, Mills tied the school’s single-season saves record, matching Cody Martin’s 12 saves during the 2011 campaign. Four of those have come in the last eight games, and he’s now earned a save in three games versus Loyola Marymount this year.

Abbott, the conference Pitcher of the Year, entered the game having allowed just two earned runs to WCC teams during the regular season. It was his first loss to a conference foe as well. In Spokane on May 13, Abbott shut out the Zags, holding GU to five hits.

GU pitchers struck out seven Lions Friday, putting the staff at 428 for the season. That’s the second-most in program history, only behind last year’s 501. Three different Bulldog pitchers have fanned at least 50 batters – topped by Eli Morgan’s 138 strikeouts – while seven have punched out at least 30...

Next Up:

The Zags (33-18) will now have two opportunities at claiming the WCC Championship and the conference’s automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. The title game will begin at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 27, and the if-necessary game will begin at 7:00 p.m., once again at Banner Island Ballpark in Stockton, Calif.

Gonzaga Article Link (http://www.gozags.com/sports/m-basebl/recaps/052617aaa.html)

05-27-2017, 04:41 PM
In the Saturday afternoon game, BYU defeats Gonzaga 10-3...



Zags will get another chance to defeat BYU this evening now listed at about 6:35 pm in the WCC's double elimination tournament...


05-27-2017, 08:51 PM
Gonzaga loses the nightcap and the WCC Tournament Championship to BYU 16-3 after giving up 25 hits...

Lots of disappointed Zag players and coaches after today's performance...

So what happened?

Just over a week ago, Gonzaga sweeps 3 games from BYU while scoring 26 runs and giving up only 8...

The Zags looked good in winning 11-3 and 3-1 in their 1st two games of the WCC tournament and then today happened...



05-27-2017, 10:23 PM
Zags Stunned Twice at WCC Championships

Gonzaga will be looking for an NCAA at-large bid Monday

May 27, 2017

Box Score (http://www.gozags.com/sports/m-basebl/stats/2016-2017/gon52.html) | Photo Gallery (http://www.gozags.com/view.gal?id=206280)

STOCKTON, Calif.--The Gonzaga baseball team lost two games to BYU Saturday, falling in the West Coast Conference Championships title round at Banner Island Ballpark in Stockton.

Game One: No. 3 BYU 10, No. 1 Gonzaga 3

The Cougars forced the winner-take-all nightcap by jumping out to an early lead in game one. They scored four in the bottom half of the first inning on four hits. The first two batters reached via a pair of tough infield singles, and then Tanner Chauncey brought them home with a home run to left field. David Clawson then drove in another run with a sacrifice fly.

Gonzaga countered immediately, cutting the lead in half in the top of the second. Justin Jacobs drew a leadoff walk and Jake Roberts ripped a double to left field, giving Branson Trube two runners in scoring position. The right fielder grounded out to short, but that ground ball scored Jacobs for the Zags' first run. Roberts scored during the next at-bat, advancing home on a wild pitch from the Cougars' Jordan Wood.

BYU tacked on one run in the second and four in the third, taking a 9-2 lead and chasing GU starter Daniel Bies from the contest. Freshman lefty Mac Lardner came on and allowed a pair of singles in the third -- the last of which scored BYU's fourth of the frame -- but then settled into a grove. The Templeton, Calif., native held BYU scoreless for four innings, allowing just two baserunners during the stretch. That ended in the eighth after a leadoff home run, but the freshman got a double play to end the frame.

In the top of the ninth, the Zags salvaged a run after Tyler Frost led off with a double down the line to right. He came around to score on an RBI ground ball from Roberts, putting the game at its 10-3 final score.

Game Two: No. 3 BYU 16, No. 1 Gonzaga 3

Gonzaga struck first in game two, plating a run in the first inning. Sam Brown drew a leadoff walk, and he went to third on a single from Frost. Jacobs then found a hole through the right side of the infield to plate the senior.

BYU countered immediately, getting five consecutive hits and scoring three runs before GU starter Sam Hellinger registered an out. At that point, Calvin LeBrun came in to pitch for the Zags, and he got a pick-off of the lead runner before retiring the next two batters. LeBrun also kept the Cougars off the scoreboard in the third, but Bronson Larson hit a solo shot in the fourth, extending BYU's lead to 4-1.

In the fifth, the complexion of the game changed after BYU scored six runs, opening up a 10-1 lead. The first five Cougar batters tallied singles, that stretch surviving a pitching change from LeBrun to Casey Legumina after the second batter. No Cougar batter hit more than a single in the frame, but they kept finding holes in the Gonzaga defense for the big inning.

The Zags scratched across a pair of runs in the bottom of the frame, looking to begin a rally. Frost plated the first one, driving in Jake Vieth with a grounder, and Jacobs singled through the right side to score Brown once again. The two tallies cut GU's deficit to seven at 10-3.

BYU added runs in the seventh, eighth, and ninth, however, pushing the score to 16-3. The big win clinched BYU's first WCC title.

All-Tournament Team:

The following Zags were named to the All-WCC Championships squad:

Justin Vernia: Vernia pitched 6.2 scoreless innings vs. Loyola Marymount May 26, out-dueling WCC Pitcher of the Year Cody Abbott and allowing the Zags to beat the Lions 3-1. He allowed just three hits while striking out five batters.

Jake Roberts: The senior catcher collected hits in all four games, leading the team with seven hits and a .438 average. He collected two doubles and one home run, finishing the weekend with three RBIs and a pair of runs scored.

Tyler Frost: Frost also hit in every game of the tournament, hitting .357 with five hits and three RBIs. He knocked two doubles and a triple at Banner Island, scoring four runs as well. This is Frost's second time on the All-WCC Championships Team as he also made the squad in 2016.

Bulldog Bites:

Lardner's six innings of relief equaled the longest outing of his career, also going six innings Feb. 18 versus Duke. The freshman only allowed one run on five hits while striking out four. He did not walk anyone, putting a zero in that column for the second time in his career.

Hellinger's start in game two was the first of his career. Prior to the game, all of the senior's 48 career appearances had been in relief.
Roberts tallied hits in both games, going 3-for-7 with two doubles, an RBI, and a run scored on the day. That extended his hit streak to nine game, equaling his season high, and he also pushed his reached-base streak to 24 games, the longest on the team this year.

Both BYU and Gonzaga are the only teams to play in four of the five WCC Championships, a tournament that began in 2013.

Next Up:

The Bulldogs (33-20) now await the NCAA Selection Show to see if they will earn an at-large berth to an NCAA Regional. That show will begin at 9:00 a.m. on Monday, May 29 and air on ESPN2. A berth would give Gonzaga back-to-back postseason appearances for the third time in program history and first time since 1980-81.

Gonzaga Article Link (http://www.gozags.com/sports/m-basebl/recaps/052717aaa.html#)

05-28-2017, 07:17 AM
Anyone know if they have a shot at an At-Large bid for the tourney?

05-28-2017, 11:25 AM
Anyone know if they have a shot at an At-Large bid for the tourney?

After Gonzaga's collapse on the diamond yesterday it does not look very good at all.

Here are two NCAA college baseball projected fields from recent days...

Baseball America Projected Field of 64 dated May 24th (http://www.baseballamerica.com/college/projected-field-64-may-24/#32UFfOtiofc3JE8o.97)

College Sports Madness Projected Field of 64 dated May 27th (http://www.collegesportsmadness.com/baseball/bracketology)

Both of the projections predate Gonzaga's disasterous results from Saturday and both list only 1 selection from the WCC (the WCC Tounament winner).

05-28-2017, 04:46 PM
That's too bad but thanks for the info TerpZag. Fingers crossed maybe we get lucky.