The Gonzaga Bulldogs are beginning to form a virtual monopoly over the major men's sports in the West Coast Conference. After years of dominance in men's basketball, the men's baseball is coming to its own. Two days ago, Gonzaga secured the regular season West Coast Conference title by defeating Loyolya Marymount at Patterson Baseball Complex. Although they dropped the series finale 4-2, the Zags took care of business in the first two games and now find themselves hosting the West Coast Conference Championship Series this coming Friday against the very same LMU Lions. But before battling for the outright championship, Gonzaga will finish off their regular season by hosting the Washington State Cougars. The game will take place tomorrow, Tuesday, and will be the third time to the two teams have met this season.
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This past weekend's series with Loyola Marymount was exhilarating and turned out to be a perfect way to end the conference schedule. Both teams entered the series tied with one another for first place in the conference. Each game was a battle but Gonzaga secured game one thanks to an outstanding effort by the bullpen. Relief pitchers Reedy Berg and Cody Martin combined for nearly three innings of one-hit ball to close out the game and secure a slim Gonzaga victory, 4-3. Saturday's game came with a great deal of excitement for the Bulldogs because they just had to win one of their remaining two conference games to secure the regular season title, something which the Bulldogs have never done before. The game was tight throughout with the Zags carrying a one run lead to the eighth. That all changed when LMU got a game-tying base knock to tie the game up heading into the ninth. Enter Chris Sturdivant. A redshirt freshman, Sturdivant entered the game in the eighth inning as a pinch hitter and proved to be the unlikely hero. With two runners on base, Sturdivant got a hold of a 3-1 pitch and put it into the gap, scoring star catch Tyson Van Winkle from second. Sturdivant's walk-off hit gave the Zags home field advantage in the WCC Championship Series as well as their first outright regular season title.
The championship series kicks off this Friday in Spokane and tickets are availble through gozags.com. Their is no doubt that the WCC is known for its baseball prowess so for the Zags to take the title from the typical California powerhouses is a major accomplishment. A win in the championship series would give Gonzaga a birth in the regionals of the NCAA Tournament with the ultimate goal of winding up in Omaha for the College World Series. We'll be sure to track the Zags through their championship series and wish them the best of luck this weekend.