DAVIS, Calif. - The Saint Mary's baseball team scored three runs in the top of the first and held on for a 5-2 win over UC Davis on Monday afternoon at Dobbins Stadium on the UC Davis campus. The Gaels tallied five runs on 11 hits, while holding the Aggies to two runs on seven hits.
Saint Mary's (12-7) struck first in the top of the first inning. Cole Norton led off with a base hit to right field, he moved over to second on a wild pitch by UCD's starter Tom Briner. Norton moved to third on a fly out to right field by Troy Channing. Collin Ferguson knocked Norton in with a base hit down the right field line. Patrick Wisdom extended his hitting streak to five games with a base hit back up the middle, moving Ferguson to second. Both runners moved up 90 feet on the second wild pitch of the inning by Briner. Chris Murphy continues to get it done for the Gaels; he smoked a 2-2 offering back up the middle that scored Ferguson and Wisdom. Murphy was thrown out at second by the catcher trying to advance to second to end the inning.
Briner (2-2) lasted six innings, surrendering 10 hits, five runs, all of them earned with one walk and three strike outs. Briner entered the game surrendering 21 hits in 26.1 innings pitched. SMC did an excellent job of working the count on Briner and fouling off pitches.
In the bottom of the first inning, UC Davis' (10-9) Kevin Barker walked on five pitches to start the inning for the Aggies. He moved over to second on a ground out by Mike Mazzara. Barker scored on a single up the middle by Paul Politi. The Gaels got out of the inning when starter Jordan Mills induced a 5-4-3 double play.
Mills (2-1) earned his second career win, going 6.2 innings, scattering four hits, one run, with two strike outs. He struggled at times with his command issuing a career-high six base on balls.
SMC added to their early lead, scoring a run in the bottom of the third. Channing got the rally started with a base hit into left center, he moved over to second on a wild pitch. Wisdom walked on six pitches to put runners at first and second for Murphy, who singled down the right field line to score Channing from second.
In the top of the sixth Murphy led off the inning with his third hit of the day, he moved to second on Brenden Kalfus' single through the right side. Riley Heinzer moved the runners into scoring position with a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt. Murphy came in on the sacrifice fly to center field off the bat of Donald Collins.
In the top of the seventh, Mills got the first two outs, but surrendered back-to-back walks on eight straight pitches to end his day. Ben Griset came in for the Gaels with runners on first and second and hit the batter Mazzara to load the bases. Facing the Aggies RBI leader Paul Politi, Griset threw a nasty breaking ball on a 1-2 pitch to get Politi fishing for the final out of the inning.
Griset pitched the bottom of the eight as well, retiring the Aggies in order. Griset threw 1.1 innings, with no hits, a walk and a strike out.
In the top of the ninth, Patrick Keane took the bump for the Gaels, and quickly got one out, striking out the leadoff hitter Brett Morgan. The Aggies used a pinch hitter, Spencer Brann who doubled to left field on a 1-2 count. After a ground out to short, the Aggies got an RBI single from Kevin Barker to cut the Gaels lead to three. After loading the bases, Keane ended the drama getting Nick Lynch to fly out to left field to end the game.
Murphy and Ferguson led the Gaels with three hits apiece. Murphy finished the day 3-for-4 with a run scored and three runs driven in. Murphy continues to get it done in RBI situations; he now has a team-high 16 RBI on the year, 11 of them coming with two outs. Ferguson finished 3-for-4 with a run scored and a run batted in. Wisdom, Norton, Channing, Kalfus and Collins all collected a hit for SMC on the day.
The Gaels return to action on Friday, March 23 at 3:00 p.m. when Saint Mary's hosts Cal State Northridge for game one of a four game series.