The No. 3 seed awaits Gonzaga when the Bulldogs venture to Stockton, California, for the start of the West Coast Conference baseball tournament on Thursday after dropping their final regular-season game 6-5 at Santa Barbara on Monday.
For the first time in WCC history, three teams share the regular-season championship - GU, BYU and Saint Mary’s, all 18-9 in league play. When tie-breaker criteria was administered, Saint Mary’s, a charter member of the conference earning its first baseball title, was seeded No. 1, BYU No. 2 and GU No. 3. Two-time defending champion Pepperdine (15-12 WCC) completes the four-team field for the double-elimnination tournament.
Saint Mary’s and Pepperdine play the first game Thursday at 3 p.m. at Banner Island Ballpark in Stockton with GU and BYU following about 7. The tournament to decide the WCC’s automatic berth into the NCAA tournament runs through Saturday.
At Santa Barbara, Tyler Frost’s bases-loaded, three-run double in the first inning got the Bulldogs (36-16-1) on the board early, and Nick Brooks smashed his sixth home run of the season, good for two runs, in the third and a 5-2 lead.
But the Gauchos cut into that in the bottom of the third with a run before GU reliever Calvin LeBrun made the 5-3 margin stand up with five shutout innings. But the first three UCSB batters in the ninth singled, chasing LeBrun, and before closer Wyatt Mills could stop the bleeding the Gauchos has scored three runs, the winner coming home on a two-out wild pitch.
— Eli Morgan of Gonzaga, a sophomore right-hander who posted his second shutout in a row and third of the season in an 8-0 win at San Diego on Friday, was named the WCC Pitcher of the Week. Morgan pitched a complete-game eight-hitter, not allowing a hit until the fifth inning, in running his WCC record to 8-0 and his season mark to 10-1. His three shutouts are tied for third on the GU single-season list.
— Jeremy Druffel, a senior outfielder at Whitworth from Pullman, and the Pirates’ freshman starting pitcher Hugh Smith have been named to D3Baseball.com All-West Region teams.
Druffel, among the Northwest Conference offensive leaders who hit .383 with nine home runs, 48 runs, 29 RBIs and 22 stolen bases, was named to the first team. He was a second-team selection in 2015. Smith, from Sammamish, Washington, who went 6-1 with a team-leading 2.57 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 77 innings, was named to the third team. He made nine starts after starting the season as a reliever.
Track & field
Corbin Carlson won the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase and Gracie Ledwith won the women’s 10,000 to lead a dominating showing by Community Colleges of Spokane in those events on the first day of the Northwest Athletic Conference Championships in Gresham, Oregon.
Carlson (Mead) led a 1-2 finish by the Sasquatch, winning in 9 minutes, 27.35 seconds, with Judd Lewis 5 seconds back and three teammates - Teagan Osborne (Shadle Park), Dominic Giordano and Brandon Hartill (Riverside) - finishing 5,6,7.
In the men’s 10,000, Matt Hommel (Central Valley) was third behind a 1-2 Lane finish.
Ledwith (Lewis and Clark) won in 40:13.70 with teammate Amanda Kinzel (Ferris) third.
In other women’s finals, Stephanie Wright (Lake City) and Hayley Otholt (Ferris) finished second and fifth for CCS in the pole vault. CCS had no one in the women’s steeplechase, won by Madison Schell of Lane.
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