SPOKANE -- Gonzaga University suffered a 7-2 loss to No. 18 University of Oregon at the Patterson Baseball Complex and Washington Trust Field on Tuesday evening.
The Bulldogs (13-23-1) used a Royce Bolinger fifth-inning homer and a sixth-inning Mark Castellitto RBI-single to tie the game at 2-2. Oregon (24-12) eventually broke the tie with three runs in the seventh and two more in the eighth to post the win in the first meeting between the two programs since Oregon’s final season of baseball in 1981, prior to starting the program back up last season.
The Ducks took a 2-0 lead with a third inning two-out two-run double off of Gonzaga starting pitcher Liam Baron who scrambled to get loose after the previous announced Bulldogs starter Jeremy Stumetz suffered a injury in warm-ups. Baron held his own though, working around that second inning trouble to hold the Ducks scoreless over his next four innings and keep Gonzaga within striking distance.
Bolinger gave the Zags a boost in the fifth inning, hammering a 0-1 pitch off of Ducks starter Zack Thorton half way up net beyond the left centerfield fence for his sixth homer of the season and second in as many games. An inning later, Heid led off the inning with a triple into the right centerfield gap and came across one batter later as Castellitto muscled a 3-2 pitch into left field for the RBI-base hit to score Heid and tie the game at 2-2.
An inning later though, the Ducks got to Baron and reliever Mark Phillips for three runs in the seventh, using a lead-off single that chased Baron, a bunt single and a sacrifice bunt that moved both runners up a base. Phillips intentionally walked the next batter to load the bases and set up the force out. Phillips then induced a ground ball to second baseman Clayton Eslick who turned and fired toward second but his throw sailed wide and into left field, allowing two runs to score and give the Ducks a 4-2 lead.
Oregon added another run on a squeeze play in the eighth and two more on a home run in the eighth before reliever Scott McGough posted scoreless eighth and ninth innings to preserve the 7-2 win.
Baron suffered the loss but pitched very well, striking out three and allowing three earned runs in six-plus innings.
The Zags and Ducks conclude their series at 1pm on Wednesday.