CORVALLIS, Ore. — No. 12 Gonzaga baseball traded blows early with No. 2 Oregon State, but cruised to an 11-6 lead after a seven-run third frame and didn't look back en route to a 13-6 win — the highest-ranked opponent they've beaten in history.
The historic win comes on the heels of the Bulldogs reaching their highest ranking under head coach Mark Machtolf earlier in the day, moving up to No. 12 in both the D1Baseball.com and Baseball America polls. With the win, they improve to 24-9 on the season and 4-0 in road matchups with Top-five opponents as well as 16-4 on the road overall, the fourth-best road winning percentage in baseball.
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"We've been playing good baseball, so I felt confident that we would play well," Machtolf said. It's a great road win against a really good opponent. So we're gonna enjoy it for a few minutes and then worry about what we need to do to win the next one."
The Zags scored more runs in the win than in the previous two matchups with the Beavers this season combined, racking up a season-high 17 total hits while maintaining offensive pressure after an early push from the Beavs put them on their heels at first.
Oregon State struck first with three runs in the bottom of the first and another three in the third to stifle a Zags response in the top of the second that put them up 4-3, but GU put up seven unanswered runs in the top of the third and held the Beavers (27-9, 10-5) off the board through the rest of the game while tacking on a pair of runs in the sixth and seventh for insurance. RHP Jake Rutherford and Nico Zeglin combined to hold the Beavers scoreless for seven consecutive innings, calming down a chaotic back-and-forth that saw 10 total runs scored by both teams in the span of an inning and a half.
T3 | Zags 8, Beavs 6— Gonzaga Baseball (@ZagBaseball) April 19, 2022
Jack Machtolf battles through the at-bat, delivers a two-run single to put us back on top! pic.twitter.com/qHtj3JLJmx
Five different Bulldogs batters finished with multiple RBI — Enzo Apodaca, Grayson Sterling, Stephen Lund, Jack Machtolf and Ezra Samperi — and Tyler Rando and Cade McGee led the lineup in hits with three knocks and two runs apiece.
"I think today was huge for us just because we were able to piece everything together," said Samperi, whose well-time triple in the third frame evened the game at 3-all after the Beavers' first frame. "The pitching was there, the hitting was there, defense was there. We played clean all day, and I think that provided us with a lot of momentum throughout the game because we were able to keep the offense going."
Rutherford put together the best performance of his career over 4 ⅔ frames on the mound, striking out a career-high six while holding the Beavers to just one run in that span for his second win of the season. Zeglin earned the save with three frames of scoreless relief, striking out five more in the process.