Gonzaga's senior catcher Cameron Edman went 4-5 Tuesday against WSU.
Tuesday night the No. 24 ranked Zags baseball team dropped their first home game of the season to Washington State in an 11-6 decision.
While Gonzagaâ€™s pitchers struggled to find a consistent rhythm, the umpires couldnâ€™t get their act together either.
A very controversial three run homer was given to the Cougs in the top of the fifth inning that really shifted the momentum of the game.
Significant winds the entire game caused batters to struggle to keep their hits inside the poles. With two outs in the top of the fifth, WSUâ€™s short stop Cody Bartlett drove the ball to left field. Winds carried the ball, and to the Gonzaga crowd, it looked like the ball clearly curved outside of the left field pole prior to clearing the fence.
The home plate umpire didnâ€™t see it that way. He ruled the ball fair and three more runs were on the scoreboard for the Cougars. Â It was 10-3 going into the bottom of the fifth.
A seven run deficit is rather difficult to see as surmountable when you are past the half way point of the ball game. It is even harder to overcome when the team is struggling to find a pitcher that can get you through the game. Now, if those three runs hadnâ€™t counted, it would have only been 7-3, not such a daunting task.
Gonzaga went through five pitchers in their final game before starting conference play. Sophomore Billy Moon started the game for the Bulldogs, but after giving up six runs in three innings, senior Mark Phillips came to the mound.
Phillips started off great, earning a â€œKâ€ for the final out of the third inning. He then retired the first three batters of the fourth inning. However, the fifth inning rolled around and four runs later Phillips didnâ€™t look so good. After a leadoff double in the sixth, freshman Aaron Brooks came in to pitch.
Brooks gave up a sacrifice RBI in his one and a third innings on the mound.
Junior Andy Hunter came in the game to start the eighth inning. Despite two walks Hunter got out of the inning without giving up a run.
Senior ace Cody Martin came in to close out the game for the Bulldogs. He struck out the first two batters, and the third grounded out. Gonzaga headed into the bottom of the ninth down 11-4.
Despite the deficit, the Zags pulled out some offense in their final at bats. Junior Royce Bolinger singled to get things started for the Bulldogâ€™s desperate offense. After stealing second, Bolinger scored off an RBI double by Freshman Marco Gonzales. Right after that, Cameron Edman, the senior catcher for GU, doubled to drive in Gonzales.
The controversy that lies with Edmanâ€™s at bat is that he had a so-called â€œfoul ballâ€ in left field that many in the crowd believed looked a lot like the hit in the fifth inning by WSU. The umpire ruled it a foul ball, but had it been declared fair like Bartlettâ€™s earlier three run homer, the Zags would have been down 11-7 with only one out. However, Edmanâ€™s at bat ended up in an RBI double, and the score was 11-6.
Maxx Garrett struck out swinging in the next at bat.
With two outs looming, sophomore Clayton Eslick reached first on a fielding error to keep the Bulldogâ€™s hopes alive. Edman advanced to third, and sophomore short stop Steven Halcomb came to the plate.
Halcomb was walked and the bases were loaded. Optimism was all the Zags could hold on to.
Lead-off hitter Eric Lane was up. Lane grounded out, and the game ended. The final score 11-6.
Despite the frustrations of pitching inconsistencies and leaving runners on base all throughout the game, the controversial calls made by the blues really changed the pace of the game.
Had WSU not received the three runs in the fifth, they would have only had eight runs in the ninth. If Edmanâ€™s hit deemed outside the left field post were called fair, Gonzaga would have tallied seven runs in the ninth. A much closer score and much less momentum for the Cougars could have really helped the Bulldogsâ€™ rally.
Gonzaga (16-9-1) will host University of San Diego (7-19) this weekend in the WCC opener. The first pitch is scheduled for Friday at 6pm.