The beauty of baseball is that any team can win on any given day, no matter its record or talent. Of course, when you're the No. 22-ranked team in the nation, that's not always a good thing.
So it went for Gonzaga Bulldogs at the Patterson Baseball Complex , as the Washington Huskies scored four times in the ninth inning to claim an 11-8 win. Coupled with a 6-2 loss on Tuesday to the Huskies, the Bulldogs lost their first series since dropping two of three at Loyola Marymount in late March.
Despite the disappointment of three straight losses -- Gonzaga dropped the series finale at Pepperdine on Sunday -- moving on is the name of the game for the Bulldogs.
"We have too much to play for to carry this forward, we have to flush it," Gonzaga head coach Mark Machtolf said. "I think that you don't over analyze a couple losses. I think you look at the whole body of work and where we're at."
Gonzaga looked like it would earn the series split as it took a 9-8 lead to the ninth inning, but the wheels fell apart for freshman reliever Taylor Jones.
Michael Camporeale led the frame off with a single. One out later, Ryan Wiggins launched a ball over the left-center field fence to put the Huskies up 9-8.
The UW didn't let off the gas, though. After a walk, single and sacrifice bunt put runners on second and third, the Huskies padded their lead on a two-run double by Jayce Ray that made it 11-8.
Jones was tagged with the loss after he gave up four runs on four hits and two walks in 1 1/3 innings. The freshman hurler should have been lifted much earlier, but Machtolf had little choice. The Bulldogs are playing five games in as many days, putting a strain on the pitching staff.
"With the game tomorrow, we had guys that were on a pitch count that either have to be ready to go on Thursday instead of Friday ... so it was pretty much scripted," Machtolf said.
It was the second time the UW had fought back. Down 6-2 after three frames, the Huskies mounted their comeback with two outs in the fifth inning. Gonzaga reliever Andrew Sopko had retired five straight, but all of a sudden, he couldn't buy an out.
It started with a harmless single by Andrew Ely. Back-to-back RBI doubles by Robert Pehl and Michael Camporeale, and a run-scoring single off the bat of Trevor Mitsui cut the Gonzaga lead to 6-5.
The Huskies picked up the tying run in the sixth as Ely slapped an RBI singled to left field.
After the Huskies tied the game in the sixth, Gonzaga responded with a pair of go-ahead runs in the bottom of the seventh. Pinch-hitter Clayton Eslick came up with the big knock, a two-out RBI triple to score Marco Gonzales from third. Cabe Reiten followed with a single to score Eslick and give the Bulldogs an 8-6 lead.
The UW was able to get a run back in the eighth, but Jones -- who inherited a second and third, one out situation -- stranded runners on the corners.
Gonzaga is back on the diamond Thursday as it hosts BYU for a three-game set.