SPOKANE, Wash. – The table is set for a high-stakes series finale between Gonzaga University and Pepperdine University as the Waves evened the weekend series with the Bulldogs in an 8-6 victory Saturday night at Patterson Baseball Complex.
If the Zags (24-27, 16-10) look to extend the season and earn a berth into the West Coast Conference Tournament next week in Stockton, Calif., they will need a win on Sunday or a Santa Clara University defeat to Saint Mary’s College.
Pepperdine’s (36-15, 18-8) win guarantees the Waves at least a share of the WCC regular-season title. They can win the crown outright with a win on Sunday.
Gonzaga nearly orchestrated a ninth inning rally to spurn the regular-season title celebration for the Waves. Trailing 8-4, Gonzaga had the bases loaded with no outs, but unfortunately the inning would end with three runners on base.
Two runs did score in the rally. Jeffrey Bohling walked with the bases jammed to score Jimmy Sinatro and Sam Brown scored on a Nicholas Minteer sacrifice fly out. Including the ninth inning, the Zags left 14 runners on base in the game.
Sophomore right-handed pitcher Andrew Sopko got the defeat after allowing five runs (two earned) in five innings.Sopko held the Waves scores until the fifth inning where Pepperdine took a lead 4-3 on three hits and an error. GU had four errors in the game to tie their season high.
Kenny Smith, Ben Brown and Sean-Luke Brija also made pitching appearance in the game. Smith worked the longest of the trio in a three inning, three hit and three run (one earned) effort.
AJ Puckett got the win for Pepperdine after he threw three innings of relief work. The Bulldogs chased Waves’ starter Aaron Brown after three innings. Brown was responsible for three runs on seven hits.
Mitchell Gunsolus had three hits and scored three runs. Payden Cawley Lamb and Sinatro each had two hits and two RBI.
Pepperdine was paced by Bryan Langlois, Aaron Barnett and Manny Jefferson who each had two RBI.
Sunday’s regular-season finale is set for a 12 p.m. first pitch.