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Gonzaga University Athletics

College baseball: Pitching staffs struggle for Zags, Cougs

Gonzaga’s baseball team has experienced some growing pains early this season. The Bulldogs (2-6) are breaking in a young team that features a brand new starting rotation on the mound.

The Bulldogs have lost their past three games, and went just 1-3 in both the Husker Classic in Tempe, Ariz., and the Irish Baseball Classic in San Antonio, Texas. But GU coach Mark Machtolf isn’t worried despite his team’s early struggles.

“We’ve lost (three) one-run games coupled with the fact that we haven’t had a lot of practices outside (due to weather),” Machtolf said. “But I think our chemistry is good and we’ve just got to keep battling. It’s not unusual for Northwest schools or Northern schools to struggle early and we’ve given away a couple games we should have won.”

Last season the team began the season with a 4-4 record and finished 32-21-1 after spending much of the season ranked in the Top 25.

The team’s collective earned-run average is 5.10. While Andrew Sopko (1-0) and Brandon Bailey (0-1) have each given the team a pair of good starts, the pitching staff as a whole has largely struggled.

The coach is hopeful that his more experienced players will help the team get back on track while getting his new starters up to speed. Mitch Gunsolus, who Machtolf says the team looks to for leadership, is hitting .519 and has started every game.

“I think it’s a situation where in baseball you can’t panic,” Machtolf said. “Things aren’t where you want to be initially but you can’t panic so what we’re trying to do is just stay the course and be solid and in the long run I believe we’ll be rewarded for that.”

WSU off to a slow start

After a disappointing opening series on the road for Washington State’s pitching staff things didn’t get any easier in Pullman this past week. WSU (1-5) dropped a pair of games to Western Carolina, before Monday’s doubleheader was canceled due to inclement weather.

The Cougars have allowed eight or more runs in all but one game this season.

“We need to be better in all aspects of the game,” coach Donnie Marbut said. “Obviously the starting pitching is magnified. We haven’t had the starting pitching that we thought we’d have, and we’re going to have and we’ll get this weekend.”

Marbut said that Joe Pistorese would join the starting rotation after coming out of the bullpen through the team’s first six games. Pistorese went 5-5 as a starter last season.

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