Gonzaga’s Patterson Baseball Complex is known as one of the more hitter-friendly parks in the West Coast Conference, but even with the ball flying in Spokane, the weekend the USF pitching staff had wouldn’t have been sufficient in any environment.
The Bulldogs posted double-digit runs in all three games en route to a sweep of the visiting Dons, who came into the weekend tied for second in the conference with their hosts.
Even with Jonathan Allen homering in all three games, San Francisco (24-20, 12-9 WCC) dropped all three contests and fell out of second place in the conference, losing by scores of 15-8, 14-3 and 12-3. All three USF starters gave up at least seven runs, with the 5 1/3 innings Riley Ornido pitched in the series opener marking the deepest any of the Dons’ starters made it in a game.
Defense also did the USF arms very few favors, with two errors leading to four unearned runs in Friday’s opener and an error giving the Bulldogs two of the seven runs they’d score against Alex Pham, who lasted 4 1/3 innings.
Pham was able to start the finale after getting Saturday off, with head coach Nino Giarratano saving him for Sunday, as there was no lead to protect in the middle game. On Saturday, Scott Parker allowing eight runs over four innings, including the first of two two-run homers that Troy Johnston hit for Gonzaga (23-17, 15-6) on the evening. He also homered twice on Friday and was responsible for four of the seven Bulldog homers on the weekend.
While Allen had a similarly impressive series, USF had little secondary offense outside of Friday, a night on which Ornido’s struggles were too much to overcome. In all, Gonzaga outscored the Dons 41-14 on the weekend and outhit them 51-23.
Those USF offensive numbers were inflated by a late five-run rally on Friday after Gonzaga had opened up an 11-run lead, with Jacob Munoz doubling in two runs and Nick Yovetich singling in a pair. The only lead the Dons would have over the course of the entire weekend was in the opening frames of the first game, with Allen hitting a two-run homer in the first inning. Johnston would answer with a solo shot in the bottom half, Isaac Barrera’s RBI single tied the game in the second and the Zags would take the lead for good in the fourth on a Daniel Fredrickson RBI triple. Guthrie Morrison singled two more runs in to make it 6-2, and the theme for the weekend was set. The Bulldogs scored six in the first inning against Parker on Saturday and three in the first off Pham on Sunday to drive the point home.