MORAGA, Calif. -- Ryan Brockett took the ball Thursday for the Saint Mary's baseball team's home opener against UC Davis and wanted to let the fans who made their way to Louis Guisto Field know what the new-look Gaels would really be like.
That bulldog effort on the mound resulted in 7 2/3 innings of fantastic pitching and one big offensive frame did the rest as the Gaels beat the Aggies 5-1 on the first day of the Gael Invitational in Moraga.
Brockett, who will be SMC's Friday starter once the Gaels get back to playing three-game series, had plenty to deal with early in the game. A leadoff home run by Nick Lynch gave UC Davis (1-4) the 1-0 lead in the second inning, but unfazed, the Gaels' southpaw got the next three outs easily to retire the side.
Saint Mary's (2-3) got its influx of offense in the fourth. A patient approach at the plate yielded big results, as Davis starter Harry Stanwyck struggled to find the zone. Connor Hornsby got it started with a one-out walk before Ian McLoughlin sliced a double down the left field line to give the Gaels their first hit of the game.
An infield single by DonAndre Clark loaded the bases, and another infield single by Darian Ramage, this one to first base, tied the score. Anthony Gonsolin walked to force in another run and chase Stanwyck. In came Robert Parucha and he continued the parade, hitting Anthony Villa to force in one more run. A sacrifice fly by Collin Ferguson and an RBI walk by Trevor Ellison left the crooked number at 5.
That would be more than enough for Brockett, who changed speeds, pitched backwards and generally kept the Aggies off balance. He struck out four, walked three and scattered five hits before giving way to Brad Nease with two outs in the eighth.
"Obviously, you want to set the tone. It's the first time for the fans to come out and see what our new team's made of and where the program's going," Brockett said. "It was awesome to see all the support we had out here. I just wanted to make a quality start."
Nease finished the job with his third straight impressive performance out of the bullpen, and a grounder back to the southpaw by Tino Lipson provided the final out as the Gaels walked off their home field winners for the first time this season.
"We don't talk about the wins and losses but if we played good, regardless of the results, we're going to do some good things," said head coach Eric Valenzuela, who coached his first home game as the Gaels' head man. "I thought we played OK. I didn't think we played great. We had some opportunities to score some more runs and we didn't execute but Brockett pitched great and kept us in it and that's what happens."
Saint Mary's returns to Louis Guisto Field for its second game in the Gael Invitational on Friday when it takes on Kansas State at 2 p.m. UC Davis and Portland will get the action started at 10 a.m. For tickets to both games, click the Tickets link on SMCGaels.com or call the SMC Athletic Ticket Office at (925) 631-GoTx.