There was just a little bit too much going on in the world for Gonzaga baseball coach Steve Hertz to really think about his team’s 4-2 win over Washington State at Pecarovich Field on Wednesday.
Hertz and his team have dedicated the rest of the season to Spokane resident and GU alumnus Peggy Christiansen who has been suffering from breast cancer for 10 years. She is the wife of former GU baseball player and Hertz’s longtime friend Dave Christiansen.
“She is our inspiration,” Hertz said. “She’s showed more courage than we could hope to show.”
Also before Wednesday’s game, there was the tragic bombing of a U.S. Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Okla. Hertz found out about that when he checked his office voice mail.
“I just can’t, you know, there were children in that building,” Hertz said. “I was watching my kids singing (Take Me Out the Ball Game during the seventhinning stretch from the press box) and I just thought about what it would be like to be like to lose them that way.
“There’s just so much that’s so wrong that it seems like things should just stop for a while until they’re made right. It was just really tough to go out and play baseball.”
In spite of the distractions, the Bulldogs (7-10 Pac-10 North, 21-20) were able to ride the right arm of Darin Blood once again to victory.
Blood, a right-hander, scattered seven hits, struck out eight and moved his record to 9-3 on the season. On three separate occasions Washington State (9-7, 17-22) had the bases loaded but could only come up with one run before Blood shut them down.
“That kid (Blood) is tough,” Washington State coach Steve Farrington said. “We didn’t help ourselves leaving the bases loaded, but part of that had to do with the way he was pitching. He just kept the ball in play and forced us into weak fly balls.”
In 90 innings pitched this season, Blood has 100 strikeouts.
So combined with Washington’s 2-0 road win over Portland and Portland State’s 6-5 home win against Oregon State, the Cougars are a half-game behind those two victorious teams in the Pac-10 North. Washington and Portland are 9-6 in conference.
It was two weeks ago at Pecarovich when Gonzaga beat Washington State twice in a doubleheader. Since then the Cougars have gone 5-3 in conference and Gonzaga has gone 3-6.
On Wednesday, the Cougars gave Blood all the run support he needed by scoring four runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Washington State starting pitcher Eric Estes got the loss and his record is 0-4 this season.
Gonzaga 4, WSU 2
WSU 100 001 000 - 2 7 1 Gonzaga 000 400 00x - 4 8 2
Estes, Hendrickson (8) and Kinkade. Blood and Norton. WP-Blood (9-3). LP-Estes (0-4).
HITS: WSUWetmore, Ryan, Cameron 2, Kinkade 2, Kaleikilo. GU- Brunell, Morgan, Norton 2, Hare 2, Jacobs 2. 2B-Wetmore, Jacobs. T-2:07. A-200.
Washington 2, Portland 0
Jake Kringen struck out seven and scattered three hits over eight innings as visiting Washington (9-6, 15-22) beat Portland.
The Huskies broke open a scoreless game in the third and fourth innings with RBI singles by Joe Trippy and Shaw Mahle, who finished 3-for4.
Washington beat Portland (16-18, 6-9) for the third consecutive game.
Washington 001 100 000 2 10 0 Portland 000 000 000 0 3 1
Kringen, Merrick (9) and Mahle; Reitzenstein and Chastain. W-Kringen, 3-3. L-Reitzenstein, 3-5. Sv-Merrick (7). T-2:10. A-104.
Portland St. 6, Oregon St. 5
Rick Burgess’ sacrifice fly scored Matt Dorey with the winning run in the ninth inning as Portland State (9-6, 15-25) edged Oregon State (6-8, 16-16-1).
Josh Post went 3-for-4, including a triple and an RBI, for Portland State.
Portland State scored twice in the seventh and three times in the ninth to overcome a 5-1 lead by Oregon State.
Oregon St. 022 001 000 5 10 1 Portland St. 000 100 203 6 8 0
Beard, Masewicz (8), Lovinger (9) and Schmidt; Hendrickson, Young (3) and Burkeen. W-Young, 0-1. L-Lovinger, 4-3. T-2:44. A-111.
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