SPOKANE, Wash. – Six Gonzaga University baseball players spent the morning at the Spokane Arena receiving their diplomas at the university’s graduation ceremony only to battle in the series finale against Appalachian State University in the afternoon. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, the Appalachian State offense gained early momentum which carried the Mountaineers to a 13-3 decision.
Playing in their last game at Patterson Baseball Complex and Washington Trust field was shortstop Steven Halcomb, pitcher Tyler Olson, catcher Travis Forbes and outfielders Clayton Eslick, Billy Moon and Alex Bonczyk.
An aggressive Appalachian State (27-19) club jumped on the Bulldogs (32-16-1) starter Arturo Reyes (6-3) in the second. The Mountaineers connected for six hits and two runs came in on a Noah Holmes two out double.
Reyes’ day ended after the third inning after ASU pushed across its sixth run in third on a Michael Pierson single.
The Bulldogs slowly started cutting the 6-0 deficit in the bottom half of the third. After Cory LeBrun walked to open the inning, Marco Gonzales connected for his first homerun of the season off Appalachian State starter Chad Farmer.
Gonzales, a two-way player who threw a complete shutout in the first game of the series, now has 25 RBI on the season.
Gonzaga threatened again in the fifth inning with the bases loaded and one out but was only able to score a run. The run came around on a one out Mitchell Gunsolus sacrifice fly to deep center but the Mountaineers limited the damage with an inning ending grounder.
Appalachian State put the game away with six more runs in the final three frames.
Offensively the Zags finished with 10 hits with Gonzales (2) and Bonczyk (3) having multiple hits. The Mountaineers had a season-high 19 hits.
Making relief appearances for the Bulldogs after Reyes exited was Taylor Jones, Andrew Sopko, Derek Peterson and Derek Callahan. Freshman Jones recorded strikeouts for five of his eight outs and Sopko was the lone Bulldog to make his second appearance in the series.
With only road games remaining, Gonzaga closes the 2013 home slate with a 12-8 record.
The Zags have three remaining games before the West Coast Conference Championships in Stockton, Calif., starting May 23. GU has a short turnaround with games against 10th-ranked University of Oregon Tuesday and Wednesday at 6 p.m. before facing Cal May 20.