SANTA CLARA, Calif. – A day after clinching the 2013 West Coast Conference regular-season title, the Gonzaga University baseball team completed its third WCC series sweep of the season with a 9-3 win over Santa Clara University at Stephen Schott Stadium Sunday. The game marks the last WCC series of the year for GU.
The Bulldogs (31-14-1, 18-6 WCC) won seven of eight WCC series and will be the No. 1 seed at the 2013 WCC Championships in Stockton, Calif., May 23-25. The other three teams to join GU are yet to be determined with two more weeks of WCC games to still be played.
The Zags have won nine straight over the Broncos (10-35, 0-21 WCC) dating back to 2010.
The Bulldogs jumped on the Broncos in the first inning by pushing across two runs. Mitchell Gunsolus singled to open the game and advanced to second base on a Caleb Wood ground out. Cory LeBrun singled to right to put runners on the corners for cleanup hitter Marco Gonzales. An error from Santa Clara starter Powell Fansler allowed Gonzales to reach and on the play Gunsolus scored. LeBrun scored the next play on a Steven Halcomb sacrifice fly to right field.
Junior Arturo Reyes (6-2) made his third start of the season and put forth a strong effort. The right-hander went seven innings allowing just one run. He scattered five hits and struck out seven Broncos.
The Zags offense got Reyes more support in the second. After a bases loaded sacrifice fly from Wood, LeBrun connected for a three-run homerun giving the Zags a 6-0 lead. The homer to left field was LeBrun’s first in a Bulldog uniform and he now has a team-best 28 RBI on the season.
Santa Clara got on the board in the fourth after GU scored another in the top of the inning on a Wood ground out. The Bronco run came with the bases loaded. Drew Ozanne grounded out to Reyes bringing home the run but Reyes ended the threat by striking out T.J. Braff.
Santa Clara starter Powell Fansler picked up the loss. He lasted six innings allowing seven hits, seven runs (five earned) without a strikeout.
The Bulldogs offense was not done by adding another two runs in the seventh. With two on and one out, Gonzales reached base on a nearly identical error that occurred in the second inning. A botched throw from pitcher Treadwell brought home a run. Steven Halcomb followed with a single to center field for the Zags ninth run of the game. Through seven, GU held a commanding 9-1 edge.
Santa Clara made some noise in the eighth. With the bases loaded, reliever Andrew Sopko got Jose Vizcaino Jr. to strike out but a run scored on the next play on a fielder’s choice. A Bronco single to left scored another run but Spoko ended the rally with by getting a pop out to end the inning.
Gonzaga has just six games remaining before the WCC Championship tournament. Next weekend the Zags will host Appalachian State University for a three-game set starting with a Saturday doubleheader. GU then closes out the season at University of Oregon for two games (May 14-15) and at Cal for one game May 20.