SPOKANE, Wash. – Gonzaga University couldn’t get the timely hits Tuesday as the University of Washington posted a 6-2 non-conference baseball victory over the Bulldogs in the opener of a two-game series at Patterson Baseball Complex and Washington Trust Field.
The teams will complete the series Wednesday in a game moved to a 3 p.m. first pitch. Some schedules reflect a later starting time.
The 22nd-ranked Zags (26-12-1), who were playing the first of five games in five days in the current homestand, stranded 12 runners, including leaving the bases loaded in the fourth inning. Gonzaga out-hit the Huskies 12-9
Washington (12-26) jumped to the early 2-0 lead off Bulldog starter Derek Callahan (2-2) in the first inning when Robert Pehl punched a two-out single to right field and Michael Camporeale homered off the top of the right-centerfield fence for his fourth of the season.
The Huskies made it 3-0 in the second, Ryan Wiggins leading off with a double to right-centerfield, moving to third on Joe Meggs sacrifice bunt and scoring on a two-out single when Ty Afenir beat out a ball hit in front of the plate.
The Zags, meanwhile, had runners on first and second with two out in the second and got the leadoff man on in the third when Jimmy Sinatro walked but couldn’t keep the innings alive.
In the fourth, Steven Halcomb delivered a one-out single to right and Clayton Eslick singled up the middle to chase and when the count went to 3-0 on Alex Bonczyk starter Troy Rallings was pulled in favor of Trevor Dunlap, who completed the walk to load the bases. Billy Moon followed with a walk to score Halcomb, but pinch hitter Brock Slavin went down swinging to end the inning.
Callahan pitched solid ball after the second inning. Shortstop Halcomb started a double play to end the third inning and after a two-out hit batter in the fourth he retired six in a row until a harmless two-out infield single in the sixth ended his night after 5.2 innings. He allowed five hits, walked one and fanned three.
But Dunlap was equal to the task for the Huskies. Cory Lebrun’s one-out double to left-centerfield and a two-out walk to Halcomb had Dunlap in some trouble in the fifth inning. But he got Eslick for the only time all night on a swinging strike three.
The Bulldogs got a leadoff bunt single from Bonczyk in the sixth, but a fly out and a double play started by the slick-fielding shortstop Afenir quelled that uprising.
Washington got some insurance, plating three runs in the seventh. A leadoff single by Meggs and a double by Braden Bishop put runners on second and third. Jayce Ray was walked intentionally to load the bases but Andrew Ely’s sinking single to right scored Meggs. Robert Pehl followed with a check-swing nubber down the first base line that refused to roll foul to score Bishop, and Camporeale’s deep sacrifice fly to center scored Ray with the final run.
Caleb Wood tried to start a Gonzaga rally with his one-out single in the seventh, but a pair of fly balls to center stranded him. In the eighth the Zags got a one-out single from Eslick to complete his 3-for-4 night from the plate. Eslick had to hold up on Bonczyk’s fly ball down the right field line that fell fair and Eslick was out at second on the fielder’s choice from the right fielder. Bonczyk stole second but was left stranded.
Arturo Reyes and Derek Peterson pitched a hitless eighth and ninth, respectively, for the Bulldogs.
Gonzaga had perhaps its best rally of the night in the ninth. Mitchell Gunsolus singled to center with one out. Cory Lebrun got the best bounce of the night by a Bulldog when Tyler Davis, the third Husky pitcher, got his out-stretched glove on a soft comebacker that hit the second-base bag and ricocheted toward third base for an infield hit. Marco Gonzales followed with a RBI-single through the left side to score Gunsolus, but Halcomb flied to right to end the game.
Dunlap (2-3) got the victory with 3.2 innings of 3-hit ball, walking two and fanning four.
Following Wednesday’s non-conference game with Washington the league-leading Zags return to West Coast Conference play Thursday to begin a three-game series with BYU.