SPOKANE, Wash. - Arizona State University used three early home runs, four costly Gonzaga University errors and a strong pitching performance from Trevor Williams to down the Bulldogs 10-1 Saturday in the middle game of a three-game non-conference baseball series at Patterson Baseball Complex and Washington Trust Field.
Gonzaga (29-19) will try to avoid a series sweep Sunday at 1 p.m. with Marco Gonzales (6-1) taking the mound.
Most of the 1,338 fans in attendance Saturday probably though they would see the left-handed Gonzales get the nod, but Gonzaga head coach Mark Machtolf decided to let the sophomore have one more day of rest between starts. Gonzales has pitched nearly nineteen innings in his past two starts, including an 11-inning outing two weeks ago in which he threw 144 pitches.
It didn't take the Sun Devils (31-17) long to get to Zags starter Derek Callahan, making his fourth start in 11 appearances this season. The freshman from Redmond, Wash., lasted just two-thirds of an inning, but he didn't get much help from his defense.
ASU struck quickly in the first inning. Deven Marrero drew a one-out walk and scored on a Joey DeMichele double to left. A fielding error by shortstop Steven Halcomb put runners on the corners and James McDonald followed with an RBI single to right. Callahan got Beau Maggi on a called third strike but Michael Benjamin homered to left field for three unearned runs for a 5-0 lead and the rout, for all intents and purposes, was on. Benjamin finished 4-for-5 with a career-high five RBI.
A fielding error by third baseman Mitchell Gunsolus, a single and a walk loaded the bases and Callahan (3-2) gave way to Zach Abbruzza who got a popup to second to end the inning as ASU sent 11 men to the plate in the opening frame.
ASU punched across two more runs in the second inning as another Bulldog error helped keep the inning alive. The Sun Devils hit a pair of home runs in the third inning, Andrew Aplin getting new life when catcher Maxx Garrett dropped his pop foul behind the plate and following with a solo home run to right. Abe Ruiz' two-out, solo homer to right-center made it 9-1.
The Bulldogs got their lone run in the second inning when Clayton Eslick led off with a single up the middle, went to second on a sacrifice bunt by Brock Slavin, to third on Billy Moon's opposite-field single down the third base line and scored on a fielder's choice.
But that's all the Bulldogs would get off Williams and a pair of relievers. Williams went seven innings, allowed four hits and fanned six. He didn't walk a batter to extend his string of consecutive innings without a walk to 40 in running his record to 10-2.
Williams retired 10-of-11 Zags from the second through sixth innings, Gonzales leading off the sixth inning with a double down the left field line for the first Bulldog hit since the second inning. Eslick's two-out infield single put runners on the corners but Williams got pinch-hitter Payden Cawley Lamb on strikes to end the inning.
Gonzaga loaded the bases in the ninth off Matthew Dunbar. Royce Bolinger singled up the middle, went to second on a groundout and to third on Cawley Lamb's infield single between first and second. Moon walked to load the bases, but Dunbar fanned Alex Bonczyk and got Gunsolus on a groundout to end the game.
The Bulldogs got a solid six innings from Andy Hunter in relief of Abbruzza to start the fourth inning. Hunter scattered four hits, walked one and struck out six. The only run he allowed came in the eighth inning on a one-out walk, a wild pitch and a two-out single to center by Benjamin.
Of the 10 ASU runs, six were unearned.