By Jesse Vineyard/GCU Staff
The weather may be cooling off, but the bats are already heating up.
Grand Canyon University club baseball went 4-0 over the past weekend in Tucson, outscoring their opponents, 33-6, in the process, capturing the 2017 Wildcat Classic title.
“We’ve been working pretty hard this fall,” said senior pitcher Jarrett McDonald. “It was just a lot of hard work coming together in one weekend.”
The highlight of the tournament was the championship game where the Lopes matched up with last year’s Southern Pacific South Conference Champions, Arizona State. The game was scoreless entering the fourth inning, but GCU’s offense woke up as they scored eight times in the inning, sent 13 batters to the plate, and strung together six straight hits with two outs. The Lopes added two more in the fifth inning to end the game in five innings, winning 10-0.
GCU finished directly behind ASU in the conference last season, narrowly missing a shot at the regional playoffs. This time around, the Lopes did not disappoint in putting the Sun Devils on notice.
“I’ll tell you what, winning the trophy was sweet, but putting up eight runs in one inning against ASU was probably the highlight of my weekend,” said McDonald.
The offensive explosion started in the first game where the Lopes ran through the Long Beach State 49ers, 11-0. GCU opened up a 6-0 lead in the first inning, and pitcher Emilio Artica did the rest of the work, striking out seven and allowing just two hits in the five-inning game.
The Lopes then got past California Miramar University, 8-3, and Northern Arizona University, 4-3, before meeting ASU in the final. Zach Broussely led with six RBIs in the tournament, while David Macias and Matt Dolewski each knocked in five.
“It is the biggest sigh of relief as a pitcher when your offense does the work,” said McDonald, who earned the win in the second game versus California Miramar. “It is a big security blanket, and it relaxes you a lot.”
Much work is to be done, however. With fall ball running strong and the spring season still a few months away, GCU club baseball can only continue to build off this fall championship.
“We have gotten better, but we have a lot of work to do,” said McDonald. “If we want to continue winning like we did, we have a lot of work we have to put in. It’s not something we can take from here and transfer it over to January.
“It comes down to just being a team.”