LOS ANGELES -- Superb starting pitching and a big seventh inning led Gonzaga to a big win Saturday afternoon as the Bulldogs took down second-ranked UCLA by a 6-1 tally at Jackie Robinson Field in Los Angeles.
At No. 2 in the country, the Bruins represent the highest-ranked team Gonzaga has beaten this year. It’s the second time in the past three years Gonzaga’s taken down a team ranked second in the nation as they beat No. 2 Arkansas 3-0 on March 1, 2012 in a neutral site affair.
The Zags opened the game by manufacturing a run and an early lead. Leadoff batter Mitchell Gunsolus opened the game with a single up the middle on a two-strike count, and he moved over to second base with a sacrifice bunt from Sam Brown. Two batters later, the speedy Gunsolus scored from second on an RBI single from Justin Jacobs.
On the mound, Brandon Bailey rebounded from a couple rough outings for a scoreless start against the Bruins. In order to keep UCLA off the board, he had to work his way out of a large jam in the fourth inning. After allowing a single and a double to lead the frame, the sophomore escaped unscathed.
Meanwhile, UCLA starter Grant Watson turned in a solid performance of 6.0 innings and one earned run allowed (two total), but the Zags chased him one batter into the seventh inning after Tyler Frost reached on an error. After getting into the Bruins’ bullpen, Gonzaga added on numerous insurance runs, scoring five in the frame.
Bailey scattered a couple of hits in the bottom of the seventh, his last inning of the game. He erased a lead-off single by getting Justin Hazard to ground into a double play. The next batter doubled down the left field line, but a groundball to first base wrapped up the frame for Bailey and the GU defense.
The Bruins scored their lone run of the game in the bottom of the eighth. They drew two one-out walks off relief pitcher Hunter Wells, and Darrell Miller Jr. brought in the run with an RBI single off David Bigelow. Despite allowing a base hit and a walk in the ninth inning, Bigelow made all three outs in the frame to clinch the victory.