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Tyler Olson struck out six batters in eight innings Friday.
Courtesy: Torrey Vail

Olson Pitches Well But Zags Lose WCC Opener To Gaels

Courtesy: Gonzaga Athletics
          Release: 05/04/2012
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MORAGA, Calif. - The Gonzaga University baseball team tried to come back from an early six-run deficit but came up short as Saint Mary's College held on to win the West Coast Conference series opener 6-4 Friday afternoon.

The Bulldogs (27-17, 7-9 WCC) got another strong performance from starter Tyler Olson (4-2), who despite suffering the loss tossed his third complete-game of the season and allowed three earned runs on eight hits and three walks. He also punched out six batters.

Marco Gonzales, Clayton Eslick and Royce Bolinger each recorded a pair of the Bulldogs 10-hit day. Bolinger also drove in two runs on the afternoon.

The Bulldogs saw themselves trailing early in the game as the Gaels (22-21, 6-10 WCC) put two runs each in the first three innings. In the first frame, the Gaels was able to bring across two runs using a Gonzaga fielding error followed by a RBI single and a RBI double to take a 2-0 lead. One inning later, the Gaels got two runners on base with a one-out single and another Bulldog error. The error proved to be costly for the Bulldogs as a two-out two-run double gave the Gaels a 4-0 lead. In the third inning, the Gaels got two runners on base before a two-out two-run double extended the Gaels lead to six.

Despite surrendering six runs, Olson kept his composure and held the Gaels scoreless for the remainder of the game and to give his offense a chance to put runs on the board for him.

It may have taken five innings but the Bulldogs found a way to score three runs off of the Gaels ace pitcher Martin Agosta (8-2). Gonzales led off the sixth inning with a single to right center field, Eslick singled to left center to set up the hot-hitting Bolinger, who hit a single up the middle to drive in Bulldogs first run of the game. Agosta would load the bases by hitting Alex Stanford and back-to-back RBI singles by Payden Cawley Lamb and Brock Slavin cut the Gaels lead to 6-3.

After Olson retired home half of the sixth in order, Gonzaga's offense immediately went back to work on Agosta in the seventh. Pinch-hitter Billy Moon opened the frame with his pinch-hit single to left field and advanced to second after Gonzales won a free pass to first base. Although Moon was forced out at third base for the first out, Eslick ended Agosta's day with a base hit to center field to load the bases. Although Royce Bolinger hit a fly ball deep enough for Gonzales to cut the Gaels lead to 6-4, the Gaels stopped the bleeding with a strikeout.

Gaels reliever Patrick Keane, who relieved Agosta in the seventh, held the Bulldogs to one hit in the eighth and ninth inning to preserve the win.

The Bulldogs and Gaels return to the field Saturday for a 1 p.m. first pitch.

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