Big third inning propels Gonzaga to series-clinching win at No. 30 Tulane
NEW ORLEANS -- With a 7-2 win against No. 30 Tulane, Gonzaga clinched its first series win of the year Saturday. The Zags used a five-run third inning to propel themselves against the national-ranked Green Wave on Greer Field at Turchin Stadium in New Orleans.
Like they’ve done seven other times, the Zags plated a first-inning run. Senior Mitchell Gunsolus led the game off with a double to left center field and moved up to third on a Dustin Breshears groundout. Redshirt sophomore Sam Brown then hit a soft liner into center field, which Tulane’s Richard Carthon muffed and allowed Brown to reach on the error and Gunsolus to advance home.
Gonzaga didn’t hold the early lead for long, however, as Stephen Alemais led off the bottom of the first with a triple for Tulane. He scored on the same play due to a Gonzaga throwing error that ended up in the Tulane dugout and Alemais was awarded an additional base. The Green Wave took a lead in the second inning, getting a run on a steal of home plate from Jake Rogers.
The Bulldog bats responded in a big way, putting up five runs while sending all nine batters up to the dish. Gunsolus led the inning off with a walk, and Breshears tallied a single give the Zags runners with no outs. The next two batters, Brown and Jimmy Sinatro then reached on back-to-back errors by Tulane, scoring one run and keeping the bases loaded for Justin Jacobs. The sophomore then ripped a single to right field, plating Breshears and Brown. A few batters later, Cory LeBrun completed the big inning with a single to right field, plating Jacobs and Sinatro for a pair of RBIs.
The visitors added one more run in the fourth inning. Gunsolus again reached base to lead the frame off with a walk, and Breshears tallied another single, moving the leadoff man to third base. Gunsolus scored his third run of the game on the next at bat when Sam Brown grounded into a double play.
Starter Andrew Sopko didn’t allow another run after the second inning as he proved to be exemplary at stranding Green Wave runners on base. In the second inning, he stranded two runners after Rogers’ run, and got the Wave to strand two more in the fourth without allowing a score. In the sixth, his final inning of work, the Missoula, Mont., native left the bases loaded by forcing a grounder from Alemais to end the frame. In all, Tulane left eight men on base while Sopko was pitching and nine in the whole game.
Both squads’ bullpens proved effective at the end of the game as Emerson Gibbs allowed one run in seven innings of relief work. At one point he retired 15 batters in a row. For Gonzaga, Wyatt Mills picked up his second three-inning save of the year by pitching a scoreless seventh, eighth, and ninth innings. The sophomore right hander fanned two batters in those three innings.