NOTE: Saturday's Game Two Moved to 6 p.m.
Stockton, Calif. – The Pacific baseball team opens a three-game series in Spokane against the Gonzaga Bulldogs on Friday at 6 p.m. The Tigers are hitting .302 in their last 10 games, led, by junior 3B Dustin Torchio, who went eight for 13 against Creighton last weekend.
Both teams travel to Spokane Thursday, as the Bulldogs return home following a two-game midweek series at No. 4 Arkansas. Gonzaga (10-5) opened the season with a 10-game win streak, but has lost five in a row entering the series.
In the 6 p.m. series opener on Friday, the Tigers will send freshman RHP Michael Benson to the mound. Benson is 1-2 on the season with a 4.80 ERA. Two weeks ago, the right-hander turned in a seven-inning, five-strikout outing at Kansas State as he earned the victory allowing one earned run on five hits.
Gonzaga will counter with senior LHP Tyler Olson, who in four starts, has a 3.04 ERA and a 1-0 record. He's struck out 19 batters in 26.2 innings on the year, while walking jus four.
On Saturday, the Tigers and Bulldogs square off ay 6 p.m. (Note: Game time changed to 6 p.m. to accommodate the NCAA Women's Basketball First Round regional in Spokane). Pacific has tabbed LHP Kyle Crawford for the starting nod. Crawford went a career-long seven innings in a victory over Creighton last Saturday, allowing three earned runs, all in the first inning. Following the first, Crawford faced one over the minimum. For the season, he is 1-1 with a 6.75 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 20 innings.
Gonzaga has slated sophomore LHP Marco Gonzales for the start in game two. Gonzales is 2-0 with a 2.37 ERA in three starts, fanning 20 batters against five walks in 19 innings.
Pacific's starter for the 1 p.m. game three is listed as TBA, with freshman RHP Mike Hager the likely candidate. Hager has logged 15 innings in seven appearances with one start on the year. He is 0-1 with a 7.80 ERA. Against Creighton on Sunday, Hager allowed one hit in the final three innings out of the Pacific bullpen, striking out one.
Gonzaga will turn to RHP Andy Hunter in game three. The 6-6 senior has a 2.30 ERA in four starts and a 2-0 record in 31.1 innings of work. He's recorded 26 strikeouts against six walks on the season.
As a team, the Bulldogs are hitting .291 on the season with 28 doubles and four home runs. Gonzaga reaches base at a .370 clip and has scored 82 runs in 15 games (5.47). The Tigers (3-13) are hitting .283 on the season, second in the Big West. Pacific is tied for the Big West lead with 32 doubles and third in home runs with six. The Tigers are averaging 4.69 runs per contest.