LMU Blanked in Pitcher’s Duel
Gonzaga received a complete game for the second time in as many games.
Needing a victory to stay alive in the race for the top-four in the WCC standings, LMU (26-25, 13-13 WCC) could not muster a run against right-hander Eli Morgan of Gonzaga as the Bulldogs (29-15, 15-8 WCC) posted a 4-0 shutout victory over the Lions on Saturday night from Page Stadium.
The game marked the seventh time this year that LMU has been shut out this season.
Morgan scattered six hits and one walk while striking out 11 over 134 pitches to toss his third complete game of the year and move to 9-1 with the victory.
Brenton Arriaga was assigned to take the start on Saturday for LMU, and the lefty impressed, dealing a quality start and allowing just one run on six hits with four strikeouts, but ultimately took the loss and fell to 2-5 thanks to the masterful start from Morgan.
Gonzaga broke a scoreless game with a run in the top of the third as Nick Brooks doubled down the left field line to get the inning going. Arriaga did well to nearly escape the jam, striking out Jace Vandebrake and inducing a grounder from Sam Brown that left a runner at third with two out and brought Jeffrey Bohling to the plate. Bohling worked the count to 2-2 before flaring an RBI-single into right field to chase home what proved to be the game-winning run and put Gonzaga on the board first.
The Lions had their chances to draw even or take a lead over the course of the game, as they stranded a runner in scoring position in the third and fourth innings. The chances continued in the fifth inning as Spencer Erdman doubled with one out only to be stranded at third later in the frame.
LMU’s final shot to draw even came in the bottom of the eighth when Phil Caulfied singled and moved to second on an error with one out. After a ground ball moved him to third with two out, Cassidy Brown flew out to centerfield to end the threat.
LMU finished the game 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
Just as they did in the Friday night game, Gonzaga broke open the pitcher’s duel in the ninth inning, this time adding three runs. After Dustin Breshears singled to get the ball rolling, Brooks posted a two-out RBI-single to add the first insurance run. LMU nearly cut down the run with a strong throw from Joe Christian in right field, but the throw skipped past Brown and allowed the run to score. Adding further insurance, Vandebrake and Brown followed with RBI-doubles to push the advantage to 4-0 headed into bottom of 9th.
LMU managed to post its final hit of the night in the ninth when Seaver Whalen punched his second double of the evening down the right field line. Never hesitating to leave the starter in the game, Gonzaga saw Morgan induce a fly ball to right field off the bat of pinch hitter Kyle Dozier to end the game and secure the series win.
LMU will look to finish up WCC play with a win when it hosts the finale against Gonzaga on Sunday at 1 p.m. Tomorrow’s game is also Senior Day, as the Lions will honor Joe Christian, Ryan Erickson and Michael Silva.
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