Bulldogs Get First Win Of 2013 Over UC Riverside - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Bulldogs Get First Win Of 2013 Over UC Riverside

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By: Gonzaga University Athletics

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. Gonzaga University baseball shrugged off its morning defeat and shutdown UC Riverside 6-3 to capture the nightcap of its Opening Day doubleheader in Palm Springs Stadium Friday.  

Gonzaga improves to 1-1 while UC Riverside suffered its first defeat.

"Tonight was a great response from our guys," head coach Mark Machtolf said. "They really bounced back from our earlier game against Utah Valley. We really played well in all facets of the game."

Senior Tyler Olson (1-0), a five game winner from a year ago, went five shutout innings and struck out seven Highlanders in a gutsy performance for the Bulldogs.

"We got a great start out of Tyler," Machtolf said. "He really set the tone from the start and it translated into our bullpen."

The Bulldogs got on top of the Highlanders early and never allowed them to get back in the game.

Steven Halcomb singled in the top of the first, which was followed by a Clayton Eslick double gave GU runners on second and third. Zach Abbruzza then singled to right field, bringing in the first Bulldog run. Junior Marco Gonzales also got in on the action, bringing in a run with a single to the right side. Gonzaga was up 2-0 after the first.

UC Riverside would have its opportunities; but the Highlanders would strand nine runners on base in the first four innings. The left-handed Olson handled each scare with an inning ending strikeout or a weak grounder routine play.

Gonzaga would build its lead to 5-0 over UC Riverside by adding two more in the fifth inning. Eslick laid a sacrifice bunt to advance Mitchell Gunsolus to third and Halcomb to second. With one out, Abbruzza lined a double to left field to bring in the runs.

Abbruzza finished the game with 3 RBI.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, UC Riverside would bring in its first run after Joe Chavez hit a leadoff triple down the left field line. He was brought in on a sacrifice fly to center.

Then in the eighth the Highlanders showed more life. With no outs and the bases loaded, Clayton Prestridge singled in a run. Another sacrifice fly brought the score to 5-3 but freshman Michael Rucker ended the threat with an inning ending strike out.  

Senior Billy Moon pitched a perfect ninth and collected the first Zag save of the season.

Gonzaga hits the diamond again on Saturday, when it will faces tournament host, No. 6 Oregon State, for  12 p.m. battle.
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