Gonzaga Baseball Advances to WCC Finals with 4-2 Win over Pepperdine

Gonzaga Baseball Advances to WCC Finals with 4-2 Win over Pepperdine

No. 2 seed Gonzaga baseball broke a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the eighth and closed out a 4-2 win over top-seeded Pepperdine to advance to the West Coast Conference Championship final.

The win puts Gonzaga (31-22) into the championship round for the third straight year, and GU will face the winner of Friday night’s elimination game between Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount. The team who advances would have to beat GU twice to take home the title, while one win for GU would clinch the championship and a berth to the NCAA Tournament.

Pepperdine (30-23) tied the score at 2-2 in the seventh, but a pair of GU runs on a single by Austin Pinorini and a bases-loaded strikeout that got away from the catcher to allow Pinorini to score from third.

“That eighth inning was a great response after they tied the game, and getting two made it tough on Pepperdine,” head coach Mark Machtolf said. “Alek Jacob has been throwing the ball well the last three weeks, and [Casey] Legumina did what he does. His fastball was sharp, his slider was sharp and you feel good about having him out there to close it. Our infield defense was exceptional today, too, it’s a real strength for our club.”

GU starter Alek Jacob gave the Zags a solid start, going 6.1 innings and allowing two runs on three hits with five strikeouts and two walks. Casey Legumina got the win after entering for Jacob in the seventh and pitching 2.2 innings of shutout ball with a pair of strikeouts.

On offense, Nick Brooks went 2-for-3 with a two-run homer, and both Isaac Barrera and Jack Machtolf posted two hits apiece.

After Pepperdine’s Jordan Qsar roped a solo home run off Jacob in the top of the second, Brooks came to the plate after a Jake Vieth walk and deposited a 3-2 curveball onto the top of the porch in right field for his eighth homer of the year.

Jacob cruised through the middle innings, retiring 13 in a row at one point, but a leadoff double in the seventh, followed by a sacrifice bunt chased the freshman with one out. Legumina entered and after a walk to his first batter, a sacrifice fly off the bat of Pepperdine pinch hitter Billy Cook tied it a 2-2.

Gonzaga got back on the bats in the eighth to retake the lead, however. Schubert led off with a walk, stole second and moved to third after an errant throw on the stolen base. After Trube walked to put runners on the corners, Pinorini came through with another clutch at-bat with a single to right that brought home Schubert. GU loaded the bases with two outs, and after two more walks, a wild pitch on a strikeout kept the inning alive and allowed Pinorini to sprint home to make it 4-2.

Legumina then came out for the ninth and went 1-2-3 to close it out.

Gonzaga will take on Pepperdine at 3 p.m on Sunday.