SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – The 30th-ranked Gonzaga University baseball team saw its six-game winning streak come to an end Friday as the University of San Francisco scored two runs in the eighth inning to beat the Bulldogs 4-3 in the West Coast Conference series opener.
Royce Bolinger, Clayton Eslick and Maxx Garrett each had two hits including a double to lead the Bulldogs (26-10, 6-4 WCC). Steven Halcomb also had two hits and Brock Slavin also added a double.
Starter Tyler Olson received a no-decision despite striking out eight batters and allowing an earned run in 6 1/3 innings. Derek Peterson allowed one run in 2/3 of an inning and Zach Abbruzza (1-3) suffered the loss after allowing the eventual game-winning run in the eighth inning.
San Francisco starter Kyle Zimmer (4-3) got the win after striking out 10 but allowing three runs on nine hits and a walk. Elliot Waterman got the save even though he allowed two hits in the ninth inning.
Eslick got the second inning started with a double to right field and advanced to third on Andy Hunter's sacrifice bunt. Alex Stanford brought in the first run of the game with a RBI single to third base.
Olson kept the Dons scoreless for the first five innings, but with the help of the sunlight, the Dons used a single, a double and an error to take a 2-1 lead in the sixth inning.
The Bulldogs got the lead back in the eighth inning when Marco Gonzales singled to right field and a double to left field by Bolinger set up runners on second and third base. Eslick followed with a two-run base hit to give the Zags a 3-2 lead.
Despite retaking the lead, the Bulldogs bullpen could not hold on to the lead. In the home half of the eighth inning, Peterson walked the leadoff hitter and after Abbruzza checked into the game, he walked the first batter he faced to put two runners on base. A sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position and the Dons delivered a clutch two-run base hit to take a 4-3 lead. After Abbruzza walked the next batter, David Bigelow came in and successfully stopped the damage with a double play to the shortstop Halcomb.
Halcomb got a rally started in the ninth inning with a base hit to third base. Slavin followed with a double to left field and during the play Halcomb tried to score but was tagged out at home. The Dons escaped with the win with a strikeout.
The Bulldogs return to Benedetti Field for the middle game of the series Saturday at 1 p.m.