NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Pitching arms dominated the day Sunday as both the Saint Mary’s baseball team and Vanderbilt earned victories behind strong starting pitching, with the Gaels taking game one, 5-1, and the Commodores winning game two, 9-1, in a doubleheader split at Hawkins Field.
Joey Fiske got hits in both games Sunday to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. A total of seven different Gaels got hits in the doubleheader.
Saint Mary’s (10-5) continues its road trip back in California on Tuesday with a midweek game at UC Davis. The Gaels then travel to Southern California for a four-game series at CSUN beginning Friday. Fans can find coverage links for all games on SMCGaels.com.
Jake Valdez (2-1) threw seven shutout innings with three strikeouts and four scattered hits in the opener. The veteran escaped a bases loaded jam in the second and left two runners in scoring position in the fifth, but retired the last seven batters he faced and 11 of 13.
Kevin Milam helped the Gaels (10-5) to victory on the mound and with his bat. Saint Mary’s took a 3-0 lead with three runs in the fourth inning, powered by RBI singles from Edward Haus and Milam. Milam also drove in an insurance run and scored another in the top of the ninth, putting the Gaels up 5-0.
Milam earned his West Coast Conference-leading sixth save of the season with two innings of work. He struck out two and surrendered one run in the ninth after two leadoff singles.
The No. 6-9 spots in Vanderbilt’s order went a combined 0 for 13. Will Toffey led the Commodores (11-6) with two hits in game one. Joey Fiske and Milam both went 2 for 4.
Vanderbilt starter Drake Fellows cruised after Saint Mary’s took an early 1-0 lead in the nightcap. It was the third time in three games at the Commodores that the Gaels scored first. Fiske led off the game with a single and later scored after advancing on a passed ball, stolen base and throwing error.
Fellows retired 18 in a row and 23 of 24 after Fiske’s single, never allowing another runner past first base. He would throw eight shutout innings, only allowing two hits and the one unearned run while striking out eight with no walks.
The Commodores had each of their first four hitters in the third reach safely (three singles, walk) as they took a 3-1 lead. They scored three more on a bases-loaded triple by Toffey. SMC had turned a double play to prevent a run scoring when the bases were loaded with no outs. But Toffey made them pay for intentionally walking the bases loaded looking for the force out.
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