Irvine, CA - The Saint Mary's baseball team needed extra time to stave off the sweep and did so in dramatic fashion, as Troy Channing's fourth homerun of the season, propelled the Gaels to a 4-2 win on Saturday over No. 11/16 UC Irvine at Cicerone Field at Anteater Ballpark.
Saint Mary's big inning got started with a double down the left field line off reliever Matt Summers (0-1). Channing came to the plate with the go-ahead run standing on second but decided to give the Gaels a little more breathing room, putting SMC ahead by two after depositing a blast over the left field fence. Channing went 1-for-5 on the day.
"This weekend, I felt like we played well the entire time, our kids battled the entire time," said head coach Jedd Soto. "We made pitches, and I'm just proud of their effort. Mark Anderson was sharp, Dylan Chavez continues to impress me, and Alex Schmarzo just came in and threw strikes to get the save and give us the win."
Saint Mary's improves to 3-6 on the season, while the Anteaters fall to 6-5. Earning the win for the Gaels was freshman reliever Dylan Chavez who pitched a scoreless inning and a third, striking out one and giving up just one hit for his first collegiate victory. Alex Schmarzo earned his first save of the season, pitching a perfect tenth inning.
The Gaels drew blood first, scoring a run in the top of the second off a single up the middle from Michael Gastelum, scoring Shawn O'Brien who doubled to left. Gastelum was 1-for-4 on the afternoon, while O'Brien went 2-for-3 with his first extra base hit of his career.
Saint Mary's was held scoreless for the next six innings, as the Anteaters starter Eric Pettis held the Gaels to just seven hits over eight complete innings, while striking out five.
The Anteaters took the lead in the bottom of the seventh off a sacrifice fly from Casey Stevenson, which ended the day for SMC starter Mark Anderson. Anderson pitched beautifully on the afternoon, going seven and two thirds innings, scattering nine hits, surrendering two earned runs, while striking out three.
The Gaels tied the game up at two in the top of the ninth when Riley Heinzer led off the inning with a walk. Chris Murphy moved the pinch runner, Norton, over to second, where he would score on a single from Mickey Reynolds. Reynolds was 1-for-4 with the tying RBI.
Saint Mary's returns to action on Tuesday, March 9 when the Gaels travel to Sacramento State to take on the Hornets, the game is slated for a 2:00 PM first pitch.