MORAGA, Calif. -- The Saint Mary's baseball team combined with visiting Minnesota to pound out 35 hits but in the scoreboard column that mattered, the Golden Gophers managed to edge the Gaels for a final of 15-11 at Louis Guisto Field.
With the result, Saint Mary's falls to 8-11. Minnesota improves to 10-6. The two will be back at it Wednesday at 3 p.m. for the finale of the brief two-game series.
It became apparent early on Tuesday that the Gaels and Gophers were headed for an offensive battle. Minnesota scored one in the first and two in the second to take an early 3-0 lead, but Saint Mary's responded with four in the second to take the lead. Anthony Gonsolin drove in two with an single to left in the rally, and Collin Ferguson added an RBI single as well.
Saint Mary's extended the advantage to 5-3 on an RBI single by Anthony Villa in the fourth, but true to the back and forth nature of Tuesday's game, Minnesota had an answer waiting. Two runs in the top of the fifth chased SMC starter Kurt Jahnke and evened the score at 5-all.
To re-take the lead, freshman catcher Nate Nolan accomplished a first for the 2014 Gaels -- he left the yard. Nolan's two-run homer to left put Saint Mary's up 7-5 and put the momentum back on the third base side of the field.
Between that charge by Nolan and the next runs scored by the Gaels, Minnesota took control. The Gophers scored three in the sixth and four more in the seventh off a collection of Saint Mary's relievers to take a commanding 12-7 lead.
Saint Mary's did fight back, scoring three more in the seventh and one in the ninth but the Gophers added three more for good measure in the eighth to cement the lead. Right-hander Brian Glowicki closed out a win for fellow reliever Tyler Hanson, throwing the final three innings to earn the save.
The offensive stats were certainly impressive enough for the Gaels, with Gonsolin leading the way. The leadoff man went 4 for 6 with three runs and three RBI. Nolan also had three hits, driving in three and scoring twice. Ferguson, Ricky Boas, Villa and Ramage each had two hits apiece. Minnesota collected eight extra-base hits, seven of which were doubles. Mark Tatera had three doubles himself.
"I think our hitters did an unbelievable job. We just couldn't put up zeros in those middle innings but our hitters kept on coming back and fighting so I'm proud of them," Saint Mary's coach Eric Valenzuela said. "The pitching thing, we'll figure it out. They haven't had many opportunities, and I'm not making excuses for them, but they haven't had many opportunities to get some work. I'm hoping that when they get their opportunity, they get better. We have another day tomorrow and that's what I told them. Keep your heads up. Those same guys are going to have to do it again tomorrow. We can't always rely on (Brad) Nease. This is where we're going to find the guys who will help us try to fight for a WCC championship."