SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Sam Brown recorded his second RBI of the game in the top of the eighth inning to tie the Toreros but University of San Diego’s Ben Wylly hit his second home run of the night in the bottom of the frame to give USD the go-ahead 6-5 winner at Fowler Park and Cunningham Field Friday.
Both of Wylly’s homers came off Zag (10-19, 6-4 WCC) reliever Kenny Smith, who picked up the defeat. Lucas Long got the win for San Diego (20-9, 7-3 WCC) after working the final 1.1 innings.
The Bulldogs had a nice start to the game and held the lead through the middle innings.
Mitchell Gunsolus got the Zags its first lead in the third inning. Cabe Reiten got the offense going by connecting for a single up the middle to leadoff the frame. Nick Brooks followed with a single to left field and Beau Bozett laid a sacrifice bunt to put both runners in scoring position.
Gunsolus brought home the pair of runners with a double to right field. GU was not done in the inning as Payden Cawley Lamb scored Gunsolus with a single up the middle.
Starter Taylor Jones took the 3-1 lead until the sixth inning where both sides would score.
Lamb opened with a double down the left field line and advanced to third on a Joey Harris sacrifice bunt. Brown, the next batter, brought Lamb home on a successful suicide squeeze.
After Gonzaga earned its largest lead of the evening 4-1, the potent San Diego offense put up four-runs in the bottom half of the sixth for the late lead.
Jones allowed back-to-back singles to open the inning. A sacrifice bunt advanced both runners before Jesse Jenner doubled to left field scoring two. The extra-base hit ended Jones' day for reliever Smith.
Smith struck out the first batter he faced but Wylly then connected for his first go-ahead homer.
The first Wylly homer assured Jones would get a no decision after he put forth 5.1 innings allowing four runs on seven hits. The sophomore struck out five and walked just two.
Lamb got his third hit of the game to open the eighth. GU managed to get runners on the corners when Brown sacrifieced to tie the game.
Unfortunately it was Wylly putting the Toreros on top again as his second home run off Smith doomed the Bulldogs evening. Smith was responsible for two earned runs on six hits in 2.2 innings.
Lamb’s 3-for-4 and two-runs scored performance paced the Bulldogs. Gunsolus added a pair of hits and an RBI.
The matchup marks the first time in league history that the defending regular-season champs (Gonzaga) and tournament winners (San Diego) have played against each other. Last season was the inaugural WCC Tournament which the Toreros won at Banner Island Ballpark in Stockton, Calif., after GU claimed the regular-season title with an 18-6 league record.
Gonzaga and San Diego resume the series Saturday. Game two is set for a 6 p.m. first pitch as right-handed pitcher Brandon Bailey gets the starting nod for the Bulldogs.