SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – The Gonzaga University baseball team completed its three-game sweep over the University of San Francisco Sunday with a 5-2 triumph at Benedetti Diamond. For Bulldogs, the victory marks its first series sweep over the Dons is program history.
“I am very proud of the way we competed this weekend,” head coach Mark Machtolf said. “San Francisco is a quality league opponent. We had guys step up all weekend and come through with some clutch hits that we had been missing earlier in the year.”
San Francisco dips to 8-9 overall and 0-3 in the West Coast Conference meanwhile the Zags, winners of four consecutive, boost to 7-12 overall and 3-0 in league.
Andrew Sopko picked up his second win of the season by silencing the Dons most of the afternoon. The sophomore gave up a run in the first but held steady for 8.0 innings. He allowed two runs on seven hits while striking out two and walking no one.
Caleb Wood went 3-for-4 on the afternoon and scored two runs. Wood had a spectacular weekend against the Dons by hitting .636 (7-for-11) with three stolen bases and a pair of RBI.
Gonzaga tied the game in the top of the second inning on a Taylor Jones RBI single to right field. GU then took a 2-1 lead in the fourth on a Beau Bozett single. An inning later, the lead was extended on a Sam Brown single which allowed Cory LeBrun to score on an error from USF pitcher Grant Goodwin.
Goodwin was the losing pitcher of record and was tagged for three-runs in 4.2 innings.
Jones notched his second RBI of the afternoon in the top of the seventh inning on the first of two successful Gonzaga suicide squeeze bunts. Payden Cawley Lamb scored on the Jones sacrifice and bumped GU’s edge to 4-1.
The other perfectly executed suicide squeeze came in the top of the ninth as the Bulldogs cushioned its lead. Wood singled to open the inning and two batters later Brown laid the sacrifice for the fifth Zag run.
For Brown, the two RBI mark his first multiple RBI game in his collegiate career.
The Dons threatened in each of the late innings but only had a run in the eighth to show for it. The first two batters reached in both the seventh and eighth innings but resilient Sopko grinded his way out of each jam.
Sean-Luke Brija replaced Sopko to work the ninth. The sophomore put the Dons down in order to record his first save of the season.
“Our bullpen stepped up to the challenge all weekend,” Machtolf complimented. “They came in and backed us up after the three quality starts.”
The Bulldogs out-hit San Francisco 12-7 on the afternoon and impressively had the leadoff batter reach in all but one inning. Multiple hits came from Mitchell Gunsolus, Cabe Reiten, Bozett and Wood.
WCC play will resume for the Bulldogs as they hit the road again next weekend to face league newcomer University of the Pacific. The series begins Friday with a 6 p.m. first pitch at Klein Family Field.
“Our focus is now on a very tough Pacific club,” Machtolf said. “We plan on bringing the same Zag effort we had this weekend to Stockton.”