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Sports >  Gonzaga basketball

Gonzaga trying to break through against Arizona State at NCAA Regionals

The Gonzaga baseball team’s season gained new life after its first trip to Fort Worth, Texas, and the Bulldogs return for the NCAA Regionals hoping to once again take advantage of the metroplex’s restorative powers.

The third-seeded Bulldogs (35-19) are making their first appearance in the NCAA Regionals since 2009. While GU lost two of three games the last time it was in Forth Worth – to TCU, the top seed in the regional – the Bulldogs then reeled off a five-game winning streak.

GU has never beaten its opponent, No. 2 seed Arizona State (34-21) of the Pac-12 conference, in six attempts. Can GU end the streak and give itself a more favorable position in this double-elimination regional with a win?

Gonzaga at a glance: The Bulldogs, who played 40 of 50 regular season games away from Spokane, overcame some early road bumps to put together the program’s best season in seven years.

The roster is ripe with key contributors, such as West Coast Conference Player of the Year Jeff Bohling, and WCC Defensive Player of the Year Joey Harris. On the mound, the Zags have a pair of aces in Brandon Bailey and Eli Morgan, both of whom were named first team All-Conference.

Junior second baseman Justin Jacobs burst his appendix last year since then he’s batting .378 with a .967 OPS. GU should have no trouble with the long trip to Texas the team has already logged 32,556 miles of travel this year, and its 23 wins away from home is second most nationally among Division I teams.

ASU at a Glance: When the Sun Devils took the field for a midweek rivalry game against Arizona on April 11, its RPI rank was a paltry 119. Since then, ASU won six consecutive three-game series and went 17-9 overall, improving its ranking to a robust 39.

Seth Martinez finished the year with the best ERA (2.08) in the Pac-12, while position players Colby Woodmansee and David Greer are both tied for fifth in the conference with eight home runs.

The Bulldogs will have to tread lightly on the base paths catcher Brian Serven caught 25 runners stealing this year to lead the conference. Woodmansee, a preseason All-American according to Perfect Game, is the first shortstop to lead the team in RBIs since 1975.

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