SPOKANE, Wash. – The Gonzaga University baseball team tried to rally from a two-run deficit in the ninth inning but came up short as the 10th-ranked University of Oregon escaped a bases-loaded threat and defeated the Bulldogs 8-7 in game two of the non-conference series Wednesday.
Royce Bolinger continued to be the leader at the plate for the Bulldogs (27-15), going 3-for-3 with back-to-back doubles and two walks. While four other Bulldogs recorded base hits, the Ducks (32-13) surrendered nine walks to the Bulldogs, with two free passes drove in a run.
The Ducks quickly went to work on Bulldog starter Karl Myers with a game-opening double. Myers would hit the next batter and a fielding error loaded the bases with nobody out. The Ducks took advantage of the mistake using back-to-back doubles to drive in three runs.
After Steven Halcomb and Brock Slavin led off the opening frame with back-to-back singles, an RBI double down the left field line by Bolinger followed by RBI groundout by Clayton Eslick and a sacrifice fly by Alex Stanford tied the game 3-3.
Derek Callahan took over for Myers in the second inning and was off to a strong start, but two consecutive fielding mistakes put a runner in scoring position and an RBI single to left field put the Ducks on top 4-3.
After the Ducks used a two-run base hit to take a 6-3 lead in the third inning, the Bulldogs counterattacked in their half of the frame. Bolinger led off with his second consecutive double down the right field line and four consecutive walks put two runs on the board. Although Mitchell Gunsolus grounded into a double play from first to home, the Bulldogs caught a break when the catcher’s throw to first base to force out Maxx Garrett sailed wide and the error allowed Alex Bonczyk to score and tie the game 6-6.
Sean-Luke Brija (0-1) retired the fourth inning in order but the freshman got into trouble in the fifth when back-to-back leadoff singles followed by a two-run double to center field gave Oregon an 8-6 lead.
In the home half of the ninth, Bolinger won a free pass to start the inning and Eslick got on board after being hit by the pitch. Eslick was forced out at second on an attempted sacrifice bunt by Stanford and Billy Moon struck out for out number two, but Marco Gonzales drew a walk to load the bases and Payden Cawley Lamb brought in a run after being hit by the pitch. The Ducks got out of the threat with a fly foul out to the first baseman.
The Bulldogs will head to the Bay Area to play a three-game West Coast Conference series at Saint Mary’s College this weekend. The series begins Friday at 3 p.m.