SAN DIEGO, Calif. - It took 13 innings, but in the end the Saint Mary's baseball team got a crucial road series victory, defeating San Diego State by a final score of 8-5 Sunday afternoon at Tony Gwynn Stadium. The Gaels tallied eight runs on a season-high 21 hits, while holding the Aztecs to five runs on nine hits.
"Like the Arizona State game last week, today epitomizes the term team win," said head coach Jedd Soto. "We needed everyone on our roster to win the series. These guys just don't give in to adversity, constantly picking each other up and believing in the next guy. SDSU is a good club that battled all weekend."
Saint Mary's (10-6) started the winning rally when Ricky Boas led off the top of the 13th with a double to left field. Cole Norton followed with a triple to right center scoring Boas. Norton scored one batter latter when Nick Rosso pinch hit for DonAndre Clark and roped a single to center field. The Gaels added their final insurance run when Patrick Wisdom hit his second home run of the season, a deep blast to straight away center field putting the Gaels out front three.
The solo blast by Wisdom was his 22nd career home run which now puts him in sole possession of seventh place all-time at SMC, moving one ahead of Curt Cannedy (1977-78). Wisdom is starting to catch five for Saint Mary's, he finished the day with three legs of the cycle, going 3-for-6 with a double, a single and two runs scored and one RBI. For the series, Wisdom went 5-for-13 with two doubles and a home run.
San Diego State's (9-8) Taylor Hansen (0-1) took the loss for the Aztecs. He came into the game in the top of the 13th and could not record an out. He allowed three hits, two earned runs before being pulled for Adam Anawalt who got SDSU out of the inning.
Of the Gaels 21 hits, eight were extra base hits, as SMC clubbed six doubles, a triple and the home run. The difference today proved to be the clutch situational hitting by Saint Mary's. The Gaels hit .364 with runners in scoring position (8-for-22) and .526 with two outs going 10-for-19.
Tanner Kichler (1-0) earned his first collegiate win after pitching a scoreless bottom of the 12th. Kichler threw one inning, scattering two hits and a walk while striking out two. Thomas Cortese earned his first save of the year pitching a scoreless bottom of the 13th. He didn't allow a hit or a walk but recorded a strike out.
In the top of the fourth the Gaels rallied for five runs on seven hits to take the lead. Wisdom had two hits in the inning, he got the rally started with a double to left center, he moved over to third when Shawn O'Brien reached on the first of two errors by SDSU second baseman Matt Munoz. Murphy reached by way of an error by Munoz that scored Wisdom. Boas doubled to left center scoring Donald Collins, who singled earlier in the inning and Murphy to tie the game at three.
Saint Mary's took the lead when Cole Norton singled to left field to score Boas from second. Troy Channing singled to move Norton to second who scored on a single up the middle by Collin Ferguson. Wisdom singled to center field for his second hit but Channing got thrown out at home for the final out of the inning.
Jordan Mills could not get the shutdown inning in the bottom half of the fourth; the Aztec's Chris Wilson led off with a single. Cody Slader was hit by a pitch to put two on with no outs. After a sacrifice fly to left field, Wilson scored to cut the Gaels lead to one, 5-4.
After surrendering four runs in the first four innings, Mills pitched two more effective innings for SMC. He finished the day going 6.2 innings, scattering four hits, four runs, three earned, with three walks and four strike outs.
San Diego State's starter TJ Kendzora went four complete innings, allow 11 hits, five runs, none earned, with one walk and one strike out.
Ben Griset finished the seventh inning for SMC, getting an out in the seventh and struck out Smith to start the top of the eight for his final out. Keane took the ball from Griset and got two quick outs to end the top of the eight.
In the ninth inning, Keane served up the second home run of the afternoon to an Aztec hitter. Wilson led off the bottom of the ninth with a solo shot to left field to tie the game up. After surrendering a double down the right field line Keane got out of the jam getting an out on a sacrifice bunt, a strike out and a ground out to first.
Ryan Brockett continues to pitch well for the Gaels out of the bullpen. Brockett pitched two scoreless innings in the bottom of the 10th and 11th. He allowed one hit, with two walks with a strike out.
In the bottom of the 12th inning the Aztecs had a chance to end the game a winner. Seby Zavala led off the inning with a double. Tanner Kichler got Smith to strike out looking, Zavala ran himself into an out at third on a fielder's choice by Spirk to Boas at short. A wild pitch put the go ahead run to third before Kichler got Wilson to strike out looking to end the inning and the threat.
Seven SMC players had multi-hit days on Sunday, led by Norton's impressive 4-for-7 performance. Norton also scored a pair of runs and drove in two runs with a double. Boas went 2-for-7 with two runs scored, two RBI and two doubles. Channing saw his batting average climb to .400 after going 3-for-4 on the day; Collin Ferguson finished the series going 2-for7 with an RBI. Toby DeMello went 2-for-5 and Brenden Kalfus went 2-for-4 after coming in as a pinch hitter. Chris Murphy went 1-for-6 with a run scored and a run driven in. Murphy is tied with Channing with 11 RBI on the year; he had eight all of last season.
Saint Mary's returns to action on Tuesday, when the Gaels play Nevada at 3:00 p.m. in the first game of a season-long 10 game home stand.