MORAGA, Calif. — For the third straight week, the Saint Mary's baseball team faces an important West Coast Conference series as it chases a spot in the WCC Tournament, this time heading to Pepperdine for a three-game set starting Friday.
The Gaels (31-17, 13-8 WCC) and Waves (19-27, 7-14 WCC) begin their series with TheW.tv's featured “Friday Night Baseball” game at 3 p.m. Friday. The series continues Saturday and concludes Sunday with both games starting at 1 p.m. All three contests will be streamed live on the Gaels' Gameday Central page.
Saint Mary's is a 1/2 game out of the fourth and final spot in the WCC Tournament with six games to play. Fourth-place San Diego has a bye this weekend, opening the door for the Gaels to catch the Toreros with a series victory at Pepperdine. SMC owns the tiebreaker over both fourth-place USD and third-place Gonzaga with series victories over both of them.
Friday: LHP Johnny York (4-3, 4.12 ERA, 43 Ks, 13 BB) vs. LHP Ryan Wilson (2-5, 3.52 ERA, 64 Ks)
Saturday: RHP Jake Valdez (4-2, 3.90 ERA, 42 Ks, 21 BB) vs. RHP Will Jensen (2-7, 4.29 ERA, 39 Ks)
Sunday: RHP Drew Strotman (5-1, 4.58 ERA, 56 Ks, 19 BB) vs. RHP Jonathan Pendergast (4-4, 4.57 ERA)
The Waves (19-27, 7-14 WCC) have won two of their last three games following an 11-game losing streak that stretched from mid-April into early May. They have lost four straight WCC series, including back-to-back sweeps suffered at home. Tuesday's non-conference win over Cal Poly snapped a seven-game home losing streak. Pepperdine has played 27 games decided by three runs or less (11-16 record in those games)
Aaron Barnett is the Waves' only batter hitting above .300 at .311. Ben Rodriguez leads Pepperdine with a .402 slugging percentage, five home runs and 30 RBIs. Pepperdine is hitting .251 as a team. The pitching staff carries a 4.42 ERA. The starting rotation has shouldered 16 of the team's 27 losses. The team has hit just 19 home runs while the Waves' pitchers have surrendered 39.
OFFENSE ON A ROLL
The Saint Mary's bats have continued to swing, raising the Gaels' team batting average (.286) to its highest point since March 12. SMC has posted 11 or more hits in nine of its last 13 games, including 15 or more five times. They have scored five or more runs in 11 of the last 13 games, with 10-plus runs on five occasions.
HAUS ON FIRE
Edward Haus has been a big part of the Gaels' offensive success lately. The third-year sophomore has raised his batting average by 69 points since April 14 with 10 multi-hit games. He's also had four multi-RBI games and added eight doubles and a home run to his totals. He has been responsible for runs (scoring or RBIs) in 13 of his last 14 games.
The Gaels play No. 14/15 Cal State Fullerton Monday in their final non-conference regular season game before concluding the regular season at home. SMC hosts Bay Area rival Santa Clara for a three-game WCC series starting May 19. Tickets are available for purchase on SMCGaels.com or by calling the SMC Ticket Office at (925) 631-GoTx.
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