PROVO, Utah – Gonzaga University baseball held a 3-1 lead before BYU scored seven runs in the fifth inning as the Cougars took the first game of the West Coast Conference series 11-4 at Miller Park Thursday.
Gonzaga slides to 18-25 overall, 13-9 in league. BYU improves to 18-25 and 8-11 in the WCC.
The frustrating fifth inning saw the Cougars score its seven runs on five hits and two walks. GU starter Taylor Jones was pulled in the inning after allowing back-to-back singles. Replacing Jones was reliever Kenny Smith who got tagged for five runs on three hits.
Smith, the losing pitcher of record, faced seven batters but recorded just one out. Lefty Ben Brown got the final two outs in the frame.
Damage was done off the bats of JC Snyder and Hayden Nielsen who each had a two-run extra base hit.
BYU added three more runs in the seventh off left-handed relief pitcher Derek Callahan. It was BYU’s Parker Starr with the two-run base hit to extend the Cougar lead.
The Bulldogs used six pitchers in the game including Jones, Smith, Brown and Callahan. Also seeing action was Sean-Luke Brija in sixth and Wyatt Mills in the eighth.
GU scored its three runs of the game in the top of the fifth inning. Brock Slavin and Beau Bozett reached on back-to-back walks and moved into scoring position on a Mitchell Gunsolus sacrifice bunt. Caleb Wood drove in both with a single to center field giving GU the lead. Wood scored later in the inning on a Barker wild pitch.
Payden Cawley Lamb extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a two out double in the top of the ninth that scored Gunsolus. Entering the at bat Lamb was 0-for-4 in the game.
Wood finished 3-for-5 with two RBI, he leads all Zag hitters with 20 multiple hit performances.
Game two of the series is Friday at 5 p.m. Gonzaga will start right-handed pitcher Brandon Bailey and BYU will counter with righty Kolton Mahoney.