MORAGA, Calif. - A day after the pitchers did most of the heavy lifting, the Saint Mary's offense came to life in a big way, pounding out 12 hits and nine runs, as the Gaels (2-0) defeated Southern Utah 9-2 to win the series.
Six Gaels combined for the 14 hits, but the biggest hit of the day belonged to pinch hitter Shawn O'Brien. In the bottom of the fourth O'Brien came in for Markus Melgosa and the first pitch he saw he crushed over the right field fence for a two run home run, the first home run at the new Louis Guisto Field and the first home run of O'Brien's career. The two run shot by O'Brien was part of a five run inning that put the Gaels ahead for good.
For the second-straight day Southern Utah (0-2) took a lead early but was not able to hold it. The Thunderbirds scored two unearned runs in the top of the second when Gaels starter Kyle Barraclough (1-0) couldn't escape a bases loaded jam for the second time in as many innings.
In the end Barraclough looked sharp in his debut, going 6.2 innings pitched, allowing four hits with two runs, none earned five walks and eight strikeouts. Barraclough allowed three consecutive hits in the first inning before striking out the side; he didn't allow another hit all day until the top of the sixth. With the win he now has 17 career wins which ties him for sixth all-time.
Sophomore shortstop Ricky Boas is off to a hot start, he went 4-for-5 today, which is a new career-high. Today he clubbed two doubles, giving him three on the year; he also scored three runs and drove in two. His double in the sixth appeared to be his first career home run as it looked like it bounced back into play hitting the protective netting in right field, but in the end it was ruled a double. He later scored on a single up the middle by Troy Channing, part of a three run inning in the sixth that put the game on ice.
Channing went was one of three players to collect multiple hits, he went 2-for-5 with two RBI, Toby DeMello also had a multi-hit day, going 2-for-4 with a run driven in and two runs scored. Speedy centerfielder Donald Collins swiped his second stolen base in as many days and made yet another running grab in deep centerfield to rob a basehit.
Southern Utah's starter Taylor Larson (0-1) looked strong from the start, but could not make it out of the fourth inning. For the day he went 3.2 innings pitched, allowing five hits, six runs, five earned, with two walks and a strike out.
The Gaels bullpen was once again very sharp as Brad Nease and Tanner Kichler pitched a perfect 2.1 innings. Nease came into the game in the top of the seventh and got the Gaels out of a two on two out jam, he struck out two in a quick eighth inning. Kichler making his SMC debut worked a very fast ninth inning which included his first college strike out.
Saint Mary's goes for the series sweep tomorrow at the new Louis Guisto Field. First pitch is slated for 1:00 p.m., taking the ball for the Gaels is sophomore RHP Kurt Jahnke. Southern Utah is schedule to counter with RHP Joseph Karlik.