SPOKANE, Wash. – It came down to the last game of the year, but the Gonzaga University baseball team punched its ticket to the West Coast Conference Baseball Championship Tournament with a 13-10 series clincher over 23rd-ranked Pepperdine University Sunday at Patterson Baseball Complex.
Gonzaga (25-27, 17-10) refused to lose with its season at stake and battled from a 5-0 deficit that Pepperdine (36-16, 18-9) built in the first inning. Both clubs make the tournament field with Pepperdine getting the No. 1 seed and the Bulldogs getting the third seed.
Eight different Zags drove in a run in the clubs highest output of the season. Cabe Reiten led the team with his career-best four RBI performance. Mitchell Gunsolus (two) and Nick Brooks (two) were the other Zags with multiple RBI games.
Down 5-0, Gonzaga stormed back in the fourth inning to tie the game. Reiten had his first of two doubles with the bases loaded to bring in a pair. Brooks notched both of his RBIs in the frame with a bases loaded single to left field.
GU took its first lead in the fifth inning on a Nicholas Minteer RBI base hit to left field. However, the Waves responded with two runs in the sixth and one in the top of the seventh to reclaim a 8-6 advantage.
The Zags battled adversity once again and scored four runs in the bottom half of the seventh inning to snag the lead back. The first run came in on a Joey Harris bases loaded walk and Jeffrey Bohling brought home another on a fielder’s choice ground ball. Gunsolus then cracked his fourth triple of the year with two outs to score another two, which put GU up 10-8.
The Bulldogs offense was not done as it extended its lead with three more runs in the eighth inning. It was Reiten’s second extra base hit that drove in a pair, followed by Beau Bozett’s sacrifice fly to left field for the last score of the day.
Pepperdine’s offense was paced by three home runs. Brandon Caruso, Aaron Brown and Manny Jefferson were the Waves who hit one out of the park. Catcher Aaron Barnett went 4-for-5 with two RBI in the game as well.
Senior Karl Myers (3-2) got the win for GU after working 3.2 innings. Myers allowed four runs on four hits but kept the Pepperdine offense at bay. Bulldogs starter Taylor Jones got roughed up for the five runs in the first inning but settled down for 5.1 innings of action.
Evan Dunn (0-1) was the losing pitcher of record after allowing four runs on two walks and two hits. Waves’ starter Matt Maurer lasted five innings, allowing six runs on seven hits. In total, Pepperdine used six pitchers in the game.
GU and Pepperdine could face again in the next week at the WCC Tournament. Games will be played at Banner Island Park. Top seeded Pepperdine will take on No. 4 Santa Clara while the Zags take on No. 2 Loyola Marymount. First pitch for the Gonzaga game will be 7 p.m. Thursday.