The Gonzaga Bulldogs (12-12, 5-4 West Coast Conference) clinched a 2-1 series win over the San Diego Toreros (18-10, 4-5) on Sunday afternoon thanks to a timely, three-run walk-off homer from Daniel Fredrickson, giving GU an 11-9 victory.
After an extended rain delay, the Bulldogs found themselves down 9-6 going into the bottom of the ninth but they hit their stride in the final stretch. A two-run double from Brett Harris brought the score to 9-8 and Fredrickson sealed the win with his homer shortly afterwards.
“I was just trying to get some barrel on the ball with two strikes, get the next guy up,” Fredrickson said. “Not trying to do too much, just stay short and get the next guy to the plate.
“It was an amazing feeling. I’m having a hard time breathing.”
GU continued its offensive ways from Saturday's game beyond Fredrickson’s final-inning heroics. Harris had four RBIs, along with two hits and two walks; Austin Pinorini and Troy Johnston both ended up with two hits and an RBI, scoring three and two runs, respectively.
At pitcher, left-hander Mac Lardner went four innings as starter, striking out three hitters while giving up two runs on six hits. Despite allowing a grand slam in the ninth, right-hander Michael Spellacy successfully closed out the win. Justin Blatner and Trent Schulte each added two-thirds of a scoreless inning to the winning effort.
"It was a resilient effort. The grand slam was a gut punch but our guys just battled in our half of the ninth," head coach Mark Machtolf said. "We had some great at-bats in the guys leading up to Fredrickson and then, the fireworks happened. It couldn't have happened to a better guy. These are games and moments that we point to."
Fredricksen agreed about the team’s resilience.
“It just showed how hard this team works,” he said. “We had the rain delay to start it and everyone’s tired from rolling the tarp on and off the field and getting the field ready to play. It just showed the great composure we have and the fight we have.”
The Bulldogs and Toreros split the first two games of the weekend. USD notched a 4-2 victory in 12 innings on Friday but the Bulldogs’ bats exploded to win 15-3 on Saturday.
“The first day, their pitcher was really good and we didn’t play that well on offense — a lot of credit goes to him,” Machtolf said. “But [Saturday] was probably our best offensive output and today was decent.”
The series win puts GU within two games of the league-leading BYU Cougars (21-5, 7-2), which it defeated in a three-game series in Provo, Utah, March 14-16.
“We just need to get back and practice,” Machtolf said. “We really haven’t hit our stride yet but I think that we will.”
The Zags will face Washington State (6-20, 0-6 Pac-12) in Pullman on April 2.