NORTHRIDGE, Calif. — A couple of strong performances on the mound during career firsts Sunday helped the Saint Mary’s baseball team earn a non-conference series victory, as the Gaels defeated CSUN 2-1 in the final of a four-game series at Matador Field.
Conner Loeprich (3-0) earned his second win of the week for Saint Mary’s (14-6) by throwing seven innings and allowing just one run in his first career start. He scattered four hits and struck out one. He pitched with poise in the late innings, stranding the Matadors’ (11-10) tying run at second base in both the sixth and seventh.
Johnny York earned his first career save in his first-ever relief appearance for the Gaels. York threw two shutout innings to close the game. He also handled having runners in scoring position, stranding the tying run in scoring position in both the eighth and ninth.
CSUN had base runners in seven of nine innings Sunday. It had runners in scoring position in each of the final five innings after trailing 2-0, but could only score one run in the fifth. The Matadors left seven runners on base from the fifth to the ninth, including five in scoring position.
Saint Mary’s took a 1-0 lead in the first inning for the second time in as many days. An RBI groundout by Zach Kirtley gave him his second RBI of the weekend and put the Gaels ahead. Kevin Milam doubled home SMC’s second run in the fourth. It was nearly a two-RBI double but Edward Haus was thrown out at the plate to keep it a two-run game.
The Gaels begin defense of their 2016 West Coast Conference title on Friday when they open WCC play at home versus Portland. The three-game series starts at 3 p.m. Friday and runs through Saturday (2 p.m.) and Sunday (1 p.m.). Tickets are available for purchase on SMCGaels.com or by calling the SMC Ticket Office at (925) 631-GoTx.
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