Gonzales hurls shutout as Gonzaga hands No. 2 Arkansas a consecutive loss
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Junior Marco Gonzales threw a complete-game shutout and struck out nine batters as Gonzaga downed No. 2 Arkansas 3-0 at the Coca-Cola Classic on Friday. Cory LeBrun had two hits for the Zags and drove in the first Bulldog in Gonzaga's three-run sixth inning.
The Bulldogs improved to 5-4 and the Razorbacks dropped its second game in a row to move to 7-3.
Gonzales (2-1), preseason first-team All-American, got the starting nod and did not disappoint. He scattered eight hits in his nine innings on the bump. His performance lowered his ERA to 2.45.
"Marco [Gonzales] pitched an outstanding game," head coach Mark Machtolf said. "He was on from the start and was mixing his pitches well. He was able to get ahead with a steady mix and just really pitched."
Gonzales' last shutout was Apr. 28 when the Zags hosted Loyola Marymount in an 11-inning performance.
For Arkansas, Barrett Astin (1-1) got the start and got into trouble in the top of the sixth. Astin retired the first batter but gave up singles to Clayton Eslick and Zach Abbruzza to put Bulldogs on first and second. The next batter, Cory Lebrun, singled to left center driving in Eslick.
Travis Forbes then stepped up to the plate and singled to right field to advance LeBrun to second and Abbruzza to third. However, a throwing error from the outfielder allowed Abbruzza to score and LeBrun to advance to third. Gonzaga took a 2-0 lead.
The final Gonzaga run of the inning came in from Billy Moon who hit a ball to the second baseman, who made a fielder's choice to the shortstop covering second, allowing LeBrun to score.
"Offensively, we put pressure on the defense all day," Machtolf said. "We had a ton of quality at-bats and saw great days from LeBrun and Moon."
The three runs were all that Gonzales needed.
The lefty capped off his performance by getting a strike out and two pop flies to Moon in left field to end the game.
The Zags had eight hits in the game with the first seven hitters in the batting order reaching base.