The Gonzaga baseball team fell 12-3 to Saint Mary’s in a game where they failed to get the bats going and the Gaels were hitting everything.
The first game of a crucial three-game series for both teams got off to a late start due to rain. First pitch occurred at 6:28 p.m.
It was a battle of the aces as the Zags started Owen Wild, who boasted a 5.14 ERA with 78 strikeouts in 70 innings. Connor Linchey took the mound for the Gaels, entering the game with a 3.00 ERA and 47 strikeouts in 63 innings.
After two quick outs to start the game, Christian Almanza put one over the right field fence and Saint Mary’s was off to an early 1-0 lead.
Enzo Apodaca singled and Brian Kalmer doubled and set up a Sam Stem RBI groundout to tie the game. In the battle of aces, the offenses were flowing early.
The scoring did not stop in the top of the second. After a leadoff double, a walk and another double, the Gaels took their one-run lead back and were still threatening. Wild forced a slow chopper back to the mound, but could not field it and another run crossed the plate. With runners on first and second, Wild forced a grounder to shortstop Connor Coballes who had an errant throw and two more runs scored, giving the Gaels a 5-1 lead.
“You get the slippery slope with the turf, you get the balls that are skipping instead of maybe taking the true hops like they normally would,” said starting center fielder Hank Dunn. “But we don’t like to use excuses.”
In the third inning, the Gaels tacked on more with a leadoff home run. They made loud contact again later in the inning, but Dunn made a diving catch to try and give the Zags some momentum.
It worked as Dylan Johnson doubled off the right field to scored Savier Pinales from first.
The Gaels responded quickly with an RBI single and a throwing error and pushed home another run extending the lead to six.
“We’re not a team to commit a lot of errors, we’ll have one here and there, but tonight just defensively there were a ton of errors,” said starting catcher Ezra Samperi. “That led to a lot of compounding errors and unfortunately led to a lot of runs. Playing from behind a lot, it’s hard to get back in there”
After a scoreless sixth, Nathan Chong hit a ball that nearly cleared the net in left-center and Saint Mary’s extending their commanding lead 10-2. That would not be the last towering blast as Almanaza hit his second of the game off of the light pole in right field in the top of the ninth.
Despite scoring a run in the ninth, the Zags fell short and lost by a 9-run deficit.
“Just gotta flush that one,” Dunn said. “Still got a chance to win the series.”
GU takes on Saint Mary’s again Saturday at 6 p.m.