Alex Crook, SMCGaels.com Correspondent
MORAGA, Calif. — Scattered runs from Loyola Marymount did in the Saint Mary’s baseball team Thursday afternoon as the Gaels faltered in game one of their West Coast Conference series, falling 12-3 to the Lions at Louis Guisto Field.
“They just beat us,” Saint Mary’s head coach Eric Valenzuela said. “Our guys were energized in the dugout all game but they just got beat. Plain and simple.”
Jonathan Buckley, Bryce Reichmann and Andrew Hansen combined to throw four late innings with three strikeouts over the final four frames after Conner Loeprich struck out four in his fourth start of the season. Buckley led the group with no runs in his 1 1/3 innings of work.
The Gaels threatened several times throughout the afternoon as they did in Tuesday’s record-breaking win over Cal. Eddie Haus’ second-inning double and Charles Zaloumis advancing to second after a single in the third inning put the Gaels in scoring position early on, but LMU capitalized more on its chances in identical scenarios.
“They came up big in key situations with two outs and runners in scoring position,” Zaloumis said. “We just didn’t get that big hit today.”
Milam and Chauvin were sparkplugs for Saint Mary’s in the seventh inning with their solo home runs, providing a much-needed lift to the Gaels dugout.
“When I got my opportunity against San Francisco,” Chauvin said, “it carried over and today I got a good pitch to hit. I was happy I could contribute to the team.”
Milam went long again in the bottom of the ninth, becoming the first Gael since Nate Nolan in the 2016 WCC Tournament to homer twice in a game.
“Whenever you’re able to get a big hit regardless of the situation,” said Milam, who went 2 for 4, “it gets you momentum for the next day. If that’s what Austin and I could do with those home runs, then that’s exactly what we’re looking for.”
Zaloumis, Haus and Jackson Thoreson all went 1 for 2 each with Thoreson continuing to escape his slump on a single through the right side in the fifth inning.
Saint Mary’s returns to action Friday afternoon for a 3 p.m. first pitch in game two with the Lions. Tickets are available for purchase on SMCGaels.com or by calling the SMC Ticket Office at (925) 631-GoTx.
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