By Tyler Bindi | Sports Editor

Edward Haus comes through in the clutch and leads the Saint Mary’s offense to a series victory over the University of San Diego. (Courtesy of smcgaels.com)

The Gaels finished up a five-game home stand going in 2-3 and then headed down south for a WCC matchup against the University of San Diego for the start of their eight-game road trip. Despite the losing home stand, Saint Mary’s was able to gain momentum by winning the final two games and carry that forward into their road series at USD. The team took two out of three games from the Toreros (7-8 WCC) and improved their conference record to 8-7. San Diego took the first game of the series 9-8 in a shootout, but Saint Mary’s battled back, winning the final two games 6-5 and 16-2.

The series began Friday night with Saint Mary’s trailing for the majority of the game. However, the Gaels’ bats came to life in the seventh inning as they rallied for three runs, all with two outs, thanks to the back-to-back doubles by Brett Rasso and Jackson Thoreson. After two walks loaded the bases, Edward Haus came through with a two RBI single that would give the Gaels the lead, 6-4. The Saint Mary’s offense continued humming as Austin Piscotty led the eighth inning with a monstrous solo home run over the left field wall. Matt Green would tack on another insurance run with a sacrifice fly to make it 8-4.

Despite a four-run lead, the Gaels bullpen was not able to put the Toreros’ bats away. USD came out firing in the bottom of the eighth inning to the tune of five runs that would give them a 9-8 lead that they would refuse to relinquish. San Diego was able to work around seven errors that led to four unearned Saint Mary’s runs.

In game two, Saint Mary’s starter Kevin Milam put together a gritty performance on the mound. Milam did not have his best stuff but was able to limit the powerful San Diego offense to five runs in 6.1 innings pitched to give the Gaels a chance to win.

A chance was all they needed, as Saint Mary’s finally broke through against USD starter Chris Murphy in the sixth inning for five runs. The damage was done by an RBI single from Haus and a pair of sacrifice flies from Joe Vranesh and Joey Fiske. The dagger was provided courtesy of Thoreson, who delivered a two-out two-RBI single to stretch the Gaels’ lead to 6-3. This time the Saint Mary’s bullpen was able to protect the lead as Andrew Hansen threw one and two-thirds innings of no-hit, shutout relief. Michael Hobbs would finish the game with a scoreless ninth inning of work to record his ninth save of the year.

The rubber match of the series showcased the Saint Mary’s offense (that has struggled mightily to score runs this season) go absolutely bonkers. The Gaels tagged San Diego for a season high 16 runs on 19 hits, en route to a 16-2 victory as well as a huge WCC road series win. The bats were out early and often, as eight different Saint Mary’s hitters recorded multi-hit games. In addition, eight Gaels drove in runs, highlighted by Milam who went 2-4 with two runs scored and four RBI’s. Ken Waldichuck led the way for Saint Mary’s on the mound, throwing 6.2 innings and allowing just two runs. Waldichuck picked up his sixth win of the season as the Gaels breezed to victory.

Next up for the Gaels is a non-conference contest at Fresno State on Tuesday at 6:05 p.m. PT. The team will then head back north for a WCC matchup against University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA. Game times at Pacific are set for Friday and Saturday at 6:00 p.m. PT, and Sunday at 1:00 p.m. PT.

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