It was a tough weekend for the Dons in Spokane, Washington. The squad headed up north for a West Coast Conference three-game matchup against the Gonzaga Bulldogs (13-11, 5-1 WCC). Unfortunately for San Francisco, they lost both games of the Saturday double-header but salvaged the final game of the weekend on Sunday.
Game one of Saturday’s double-header started off slow as both starting pitchers were able to put up donuts through the first four innings. In the fifth inning San Francisco’s Michael Perri doubled to start the inning and advanced to third after a Manny Ramirez Jr. flyout. Harrison Bruce knocked a double to bring in Perri for the first run of the game. In the home half of the fifth inning the Bulldogs responded with a run of their own to knot the score. In the top of the sixth inning, Ross Puskarich smashed a two-run moonshot to retake the lead 3-1. In the bottom of the seventh inning, Gonzaga small-balled their way to manufacturing two runs to tie the game once again. Then came an absolute offensive drought as the game went all the way to the sixteenth inning. The Zags singled home the walk-off run after loading the bases for a 4-3 win. Allen Smoot and Brady Bate each provided a pair of hits out of USF’s total nine.
The tone for Saturday’s second game was set in the bottom of the first inning when Gonzaga tee’d off a solo shot. The bottom of the second until the top of the fourth were all pretty routine three-up-three-down innings. After scoring a run another run in the bottom of the fourth for a 2-0 lead, USF got one run back to cut the deficit in half 2-1, the Dons’ one and only run of the game. The Zags scored another run in the seventh, 3-1, and packed on in the eighth inning plating five more times for an 8-1 lead. With a final score of 8-1, San Francisco couldn’t find much only scratching together five hits. Gonzaga’s pitcher tossed a complete game only giving up the one run and fanning seven.
San Francisco final broke through in the Sunday salvage match, busting out four runs in the second inning. After loading the bases Matt Sinatro got a free pass after getting hit by a pitch to send the Dons first run in. Nico Giarratano walked thereafter for USF’s second run. Smoot singled in another run and Puskarich reached on a fielder’s choice as the fourth run crossed home. Dominic Miroglio smacked a two-run double in the fourth inning to pad the lead a bit more 6-0. Gonzaga answered back in the bottom of the fourth with a two-run homer. Smoot booted a solo shot in the eighth for good measure. San Francisco walked away Sunday with a 7-2 win.
Now with a 13-11, 2-4 WCC record, San Francisco will get a three-game home set against the University of San Diego Torreros (15-6, 5-1 WCC). With 33 games left in the season the Dons have plenty of offensive potency to make a run at a title but their starting pitching is going to need to sharpen up if they want to be a real threat in the WCC. Be sure to head to Benedetti Diamond to catch the next set of games of follow live on usfdons.com
Photo: Dons Athletics/ Flickr