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Zags Baseball Opens 2014 Against #2 Oregon State

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  • Zags Baseball Opens 2014 Against #2 Oregon State

    Zags Baseball Opens 2014 Against #2 Oregon State

    SPOKANE, Wash.The reigning West Coast Conference regular-season champion Gonzaga University baseball team is poised for the challenges waiting in the 2014 campaign, which begins Friday at the Husker Classic in Tempe, Ariz., against #2 Oregon State University.

    “There is a target on this group as the defending league champions,” head coach Mark Machtolf said. “We lost some pieces since last year but collectively I think this club is very talented. We open with a huge road swing, perhaps the longest in recent team history, but it will prepare us for a conference run.”

    Before the Bulldogs open WCC play on Mar. 14, at University of San Francisco, the Zags will be in three non-conference tournaments. The heavy road slate will see Gonzaga on the road for the first 24 games of the year before the home opener Mar. 28 against Loyola Marymount University.

    “It will be tough early in the year,” Machtolf said. “We want to face the top teams and really good pitching. We did that with the schedule this year. The best teams find ways to win on the road and that is what we are aiming for. The big key for us in the preseason is to make strides as a team.”

    When the Zags finally open up at home, it will be a considerably different team from a year ago.

    “We have a lot of new players who will be in new roles,” Machtolf explained. “We lost our pitching rotation in the MLB Draft and graduated six seniors from our lineup. We still have a lot of talent that is excited to defend the conference title.”

    Back for the Bulldogs are Preseason All-WCC first-teamers Cory LeBrun and Caleb Wood. Outfielder LeBrun hit .308 with a team-high 11 doubles for GU last year and was recognized with All-WCC honors. Second baseman Wood, an All-WCC Freshman in 2013, carried a .291 batting average with three home runs and 26 RBI...

    On the mound the Bulldogs have six viable options competing for a weekend rotation spot. Returning from injury is junior David Bigelow who should be a fixture in the bullpen. Sean-Luke Brija is coming off a superb summer and will fill a late innings reliever role.

    “Our rotation last year ate up a ton of innings,” Machtolf said. “We are excited to see who steps up and fills the holes. There are some healthy competitions going on which is going to make us deeper. Someone to keep an eye on is freshman Brandon Bailey who is our opening day starter.”

    Bailey, a Broomfield, Colo. native, is coming off of Tommy John surgery and is expected to have a significant impact. Other returning arms that made starts in 2013 are Kenny Smith (4-0, 4.50 ERA), Derek Callahan (2-2, 4.26 ERA) and Zach Abbruzza (0-3, 4.80 ERA).

    After Bailey takes on Oregon State, Abbruzza will face tournament host Nebraska Saturday at 2 p.m. The Zags starter for Saturday night against University of the Pacific is TBA and likewise for Sunday against Nebraska again.

    Program history can be made opening weekend as well. Machtolf is just two wins away from his 300th as the Zags skipper. However the Bulldogs thoughts are not on any of the milestones, the focus of the club is to just play baseball.

    “The sum of the parts of this group is going to make for a really good club,” Machtolf said. “This is a very close team. The journey with the team is going to be a fun one to see what we can go out and do. It’s time to get out of the snow in Spokane and face quality opponents.”

    Gonzaga Article Link

    Husker Classic Game Notes Link

  • #2
    After 5 complete innings, Gonzaga leads Oregon St 2-1...


    • #3
      After 6 and a half innings, the Zags lead the Beavers 3-1.

      In the bottom of the 6th, OSU's first two batters reached base
      with no outs. The Beavers could not score though as the Zags escaped
      the inning without giving up a run.

      In the top of the 7th, Gonzaga had the bases loaded with 2 out but could not
      get a run in.


      • #4
        Through 7 complete innings, Zags lead Oregon St. 3-2...

        In the bottom of the 7th, Oregon St. had the bases loaded
        and only 1 out. OSU could only score 1 run before the Zags got out
        of the inning.


        • #5
          With 2 outs in the bottom of the 8th, Oregon St. scores 2 runs to take
          the lead 4-3...


          • #6
            In the top of the 9th, the Zags can not score...

            #2 Oregon St. defeats Gonzaga 4-3...

            Blanchet's Max Engelbrekt came in in relief in the bottom of the 9th
            for Oregon St. and closed the door on the Zags while striking out two...


            • #7
              Late Oregon State Rally Drops Baseball In Season Opener

              TEMPE, Ariz. – Gonzaga University baseball carried a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the eighth inning but second-ranked Oregon State University rallied and spurned the Zags upset chances Friday at the Husker Classic as the Beavers took the game 4-3 to open the 2014 season.

              With two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, Beaver Jeff Hendrix singled with runners on second and third to give OSU the decisive 4-3 lead. Hendrix’s base knock came off reliever Kenny Smith who entered the game in the sixth for freshman starter Brandon Bailey.

              For Bailey, it was his collegiate debut for the Zags. After allowing a run in the first inning, the Broomfield, Colo., native settled down and delivered five strong innings of work. He was charged for one run on four hits while striking out four Beavers.

              Midway through the game, Gonzaga took a 2-1 lead on a Joey Harris single to right field. It was Harris’ first collegiate hit and a pair of throwing errors allowed the two GU runs to score. Through five innings, Gonzaga appeared poised to upset OSU.

              The Zags added an insurance run in the sixth on the bat of Payden Cawley Lamb. Lamb singled down the left field line to bring home Cory LeBrun, who previously reached on a base hit. LeBrun had two hits in the game.

              Oregon State chipped into the lead with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh. The Beavers had loaded the bases but only managed the one run after Smith struck out Michael Howard to end the inning.

              Smith who took the loss, gave the Zags three innings of relief and allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits.

              Both GU and OSU left 11 runners on base.

              Mitchell Gunsolus had the first Gonzaga hit of the new year in the top of the first inning. On an 0-2 count, Gunsolus singled to right center and would later steal second but he did not score.

              Gonzaga is 6-11 on opening day since 2000. Oregon State has a five game winning streak over the Bulldogs dating back to 2008.

              Opening weekend continues tomorrow with a Saturday doubleheader. Gonzaga will take on tournament host University of Nebraska at 2 p.m. followed by a 6 p.m. tilt with University of the Pacific.

              Program history can be made Saturday as well. Head coach Mark Machtolf is just two victories away from his 300th as Gonzaga’s skipper.

              Gonzaga Article Link

              Gonzaga vs. Oregon St. Box Score


              • #8
                After 5 complete innings this afternoon, Gonzaga trails Nebraska 4-2...

                Zach Abbruzza started for the Zags and went 3 complete innings before
                Will Abram came in in relief...

                After walking the first Nebraska batter, Abram struck out the side in the bottom of the 5th...


                • #9
                  Through 7 complete innings, Zags still trail Nebraska 4-2...

                  Gonzaga with only 3 hits so far...and 4 runners LOB...


                  • #10
                    Nebraska scores 3 runs in the bottom of the 8th and now leads 7-2...


                    • #11
                      Nebraska wins 7-4 over Gonzaga...

                      Zags loaded the bases with only 1 out in the top of the 9th...
                      but Gonzaga could only score 2 runs before they grounded into a game ending double play...

                      Gonzaga will play Pacific later today at 6 p.m.


                      • #12
                        In the second game of the day, Pacific leads Gonzaga 3-2 after 6 complete innings...

                        In the top of the 6th, the Zags had a runner on 2nd with only 1 out but could not
                        score the run...

                        Derek Callahan started for the Zags and went 5.1 innings...Sean-Luke Brija now in in
                        relief for Gonzaga...


                        • #13
                          Pacific scores 5 runs in the top of the 7th to take an 8 to 2 lead...


                          • #14
                            Zags score 3 in their half of the 7th and now trail 8-5 heading into the 8th inning...


                            • #15
                              In the top of the 8th, Pacific scores a run on a wild pitch...

                              Pacific now leads 9-5...