As Gonzaga is a Catholic school, I felt it appropriate to begin today's summary with a bible quote:
"How the mighty have fallen!"
The Bulldogs faced off against the Broncos this weekend, who were last in the West Coast Conference prior to Friday's game. After seeing these games, it's clear that the wheels have come off, as Gonzaga (14-31, 2-9 WCC) was swept by Santa Clara (18-23, 4-10 WCC). Our Zags are now last place in the WCC only a year after our most successful season in decades.
Friday's game was close enough after the first four innings, a casual 3-1 lead for SCU. But when Cody Martin took the mound for his fifth inning of work, the Broncos bucked the Bulldogs out of the game: GU surrendered 12 runs in the fifth frame, and Martin's ERA is now 6.45. Coach Machtolf wanted to give Cody the chance to get out of the jam himself, but unfortunately he couldn't get that third out and was replaced by Andrew Danner. Kyle Adkins saw his first mound time of the season, and it looks like we may have missed out on a bullpen opportunity: he went over four innings, struck out four, and didn't allow anyone to cross the plate. Maybe we should have let him loose earlier in the season? I understand that he's only a sophomore, and that we go to Brown and Phillips in the pen most of the time, but the Gonzaga bullpen has left much to be desired. I'm sure Kyle will see more innings thrown his way before the 30th.
The Zags put a few more runs on the board before the game was over, but not nearly enough, and suffered an embarassing 15-3 defeat. Keep in mind that this was not San Diego or Portland; this was the worst team in our conference and they lit up our ace. Friday was one of the few games where the pitchers took that fault...even if our lineup had hit well, nobody expects them to provide 15 runs as "support."
We saw the Zags fall again on Saturday, this time 7-3. Liam Baron had his first bad outing in awhile, surrendering 11 hits in his two innings on the hill. Although the Bulldogs only trailed by a handful of runs, it was clear watching the game that the Broncos had it well in hand. The step-up player for GU was freshman Billy Moon, who had one helluva day. He got the start in right field and compiled three hits and two RBIs. The RF position has been iffy for the Zags this year: Bolinger, Chism, Moon, and Sturdivant have gotten time out there. Actually, it's the only position besides catcher where we've seen much tweaking.
Gonzaga was hoping that Bloomsday would bring high spirits and a high run count. Neither saw the light of day on Sunday. The Broncos scored runs in four consecutive innings while the Dogs didn't get anyone across until the seventh, and weren't able to rally back. Another freshman stepped up in this game, this time it was third baseman Steven Halcomb, who contributed three hits. He's been in the hot corner for GU for a few series now, and he's quietly gone about his business. He'll be a lead-by-example guy when he gets older on the team.
On the hill, we saw Ryan Carpenter make his first home start since his injury (he pitched at Washington earlier in the week). He threw reasonably well: three runs on five hits in just over four innings. He's obviously not back at 100% yet, but it's nice to see him getting back in the groove. By the time he heads out to Cape Cod for summerball, he'll be ready to show off for the scouts.
It's been a slow realization for me that we're a very polarized team. One day we hit, while the next day we choose to pitch...the problem is that we hardly ever do both on the same day. It's become frustrating to watch this team: it's clear that they have SO much potential on the diamond, but we're playing so inconsistently. Actually, we're playing consistently inconsistent...you can count on the fact that you'll never know what you're going to see, offense or defense.
If you're a GU student, that was pretty much your last chance to see them play at home this year. They resume play on the 13th on a trip to the Bay Area for St. Mary's and the rescheduled USF game. They'll finish the season off at Patterson starting the 18th and get WSU, LMU, and Portland.