SPOKANE, Wash. - The Gonzaga University baseball team allowed three runs in the ninth inning to suffer a 4-3 defeat to Loyola Marymount University in the final game of the West Coast Conference series Sunday afternoon.
Bulldog starter Andy Hunter settled in after allowing the first inning run, holding the Lions (21-18, 9-6 WCC) to seven hits and a walk while punching out five batters in 6 1/3 innings of work. Derek Peterson relieved Hunter in the seventh inning and only allowed a hit and a walk. Although he didn't allow a run in the eighth inning, Zach Abbruzza (2-4) suffered when the Lions scored three runs in the ninth inning.
The Bulldogs (27-14, 7-8 WCC) were limited to singles on their seven-hit afternoon. Royce Bolinger led the team with three hits while Steven Halcomb, Clayton Eslick, Alex Stanford and Maxx Garrett recorded one.
The Lions jumped on the board in the first inning without recording a hit. Hunter walked the leadoff hitter and committed fielding error to put runners on first and second. After moving the runners over using a sacrifice bunt, the Lions got on the board with a sacrifice fly to right field.
But the Bulldogs answered back in their opening half of the frame. Halcomb led off with a base hit passed the third baseman and advanced to second on a passed ball. With one out, Royce Bolinger drove in the Bulldogs first run of the game with a base hit up the middle.
Halcomb opened up the fifth inning with a walk and Marco Gonzales moved him over with a sacrifice bunt. Eslick would bring the junior home with a two-out RBI single up the middle.
The Bulldogs caught a break in the sixth inning when Alex Bonczyk reached safely on an error by the Lion first baseman. After a wild pitch moved Bonczyk into scoring position, Mitchell Gunsolus and Garrett used back-to-back sacrifice bunts to bring the speedy Bonczyk home to give the Bulldogs a 3-1 lead.
In the visitor's half of the ninth inning, Abbruzza walked the leadoff hitter and although he got the next batter to fly out to right field, a base hit followed by a walk loaded the bases. The Lions would use a two-run single to center field and a sacrifice fly to take a 4-3 lead.
The Bulldogs will welcome ninth-ranked University of Oregon to the Patterson Baseball Complex and Washington Trust Field for a two-game non-conference series Tuesday and Wednesday. Both games are schedule for 6 p.m. starts.