SPOKANE, Wash. – Two three-run innings doomed the Gonzaga University baseball team Sunday at Patterson Baseball Complex as the Loyola Marymount University Lions took the series rubber match 7-5.
Gonzaga drops its first West Coast Conference series of the year and slides to 10-16 overall and 6-3 in league. The Lions boost its record to 17-11 and 7-2 in conference.
The Lions scored the first run in each game of the series. Sunday it began in the first on Austin Miller singling off GU starter Andrew Sopko. A passed ball and a wild pitch advanced Miller to third where he would score on a David Fletcher groundout.
The Zags took the lead 3-1 in the bottom half of the frame. Jimmy Sinatro (single), Nicholas Minteer (single) and Sam Brown (double) each hit in a run off LMU lefty Sean Buckle.
Gonzaga extended its early lead to 5-2 with runs in the third and fourth inning.
In the third, Brown executed a perfect bunt that allowed him to reach and a run to score. Next inning, Mitchell Gunsolus tripled with two outs and was brought home on a Caleb Wood double.
The Bulldogs lead was short lived as the Lions rallied to put up three-runs in each the fifth and seventh inning.
LMU loaded the bases off Sopko in the fifth on two hits and a throwing error. Sopko was then called for a balk, which advanced the runners and brought home a run. The other two-runs came home on sacrifice fly outs.
Lions took the lead in the seventh. Right-handed pitcher Sean-Luke Brija inherited two-runners on base when he entered the frame for Ben Brown. Brija got Lion Tommy Cheek to hit into a fielder’s choice but the Zags were unable to record an out on the play and instead a run scored. The next batter brought home a run on a sacrifice fly and the last scored on an RBI base hit to left field.
Brown, who worked 1.0 inning, was the losing pitcher of record. He entered the game in the sixth for Sopko, who gave Gonzaga 5.0 innings allowing four-runs on seven hits. Brija worked 1.1 innings and senior Kenny Smith finished the game of 1.2 innings.
Trailing 7-5, GU managed just one more base runner in the eight as the Lions bullpen shutdown the game. Closer Bret Dahlson ended the game for his second save of the series.
Gonzaga had eight hits in the game with 2-for-4 performances by Sinatro, Minteer and Brown. In the series, both Sinatro and Brown had six hits.
The Zags have a short turnaround as the open a two-game set with No. 11 University of Oregon. Bulldogs and Ducks begin the series Tuesday at 6 p.m.