SPOKANE, Wash. — No. 22 Gonzaga was again led by junior All-American lefty Marco Gonzales in securing a 6-4 victory Thursday over BYU baseball.
Gonzales improved his record to 6-3 and was 2-for-4 as a designated hitter. The league-leading Bulldogs improved their record to 27-13-1 overall and 14-5 in the West Coast Conference to end a three-game losing streak.
“He (Gonzales) is one of the best pitchers in the country, but our approach at the plate was good tonight,” BYU coach Mike Littlewood said. “He induced ground-ball double plays when he needed to and we can’t let a pitcher like that off the hook."
BYU, now 20-16 and 7-6, took the initial 1-0 lead in the third when Jacob Hannemann scored on the third consecutive single.
Hannemann got aboard with a two-out single, stole second, advanced to second on Hansen’s poke past Gonzales and scored on Adam Law’s roller to right field. Hansen and Law extended their hitting streaks to five and four games, respectively.
Hannemann, who led off the first with a single, had advanced to third previously where he was stranded on an inning-ending double play.
The Zags evened the score in the bottom of the third with a solo two-out homer by Caleb Woods.
“We had a botched play in the fourth inning and it kind of deflated us,” Littlewood said.
That controversial play prevented BYU from retaking the lead when Brock Whitney led off with a double and later was called out at the plate and Dakota Hernandez was ruled out by way of interference in an inning-ending double play.
Gonzaga scored two in the seventh, the last of which came off a one-out safety squeeze bunt to make the score 6-1.
“We kept playing and we need to focus up more on Friday and play nine innings instead of seven. We just didn’t make plays when we needed to and they got key hits when they needed them.”
The Cougars did battle back when Jaycob Brugman’s one-out, two-run triple in the right field corner narrowed the score to 6-3 in the eighth. Brugman then scored BYU’s fourth run when Whitney singled up the middle.
The two teams square off again Friday at 6 p.m., in a game broadcast live locally by KOVO Radio 960 and on the Internet.
Ralph R. Zobell has worked for BYU Athletic Media Relations in various capacities for over 30 years. You can view his bio at http://byucougars.com/staff/athletics/ralph-zobell or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.