MORAGA, Calif. - The Saint Mary's pitching staff had another brilliant afternoon, holding Cal State Northridge to three runs on four hits, as Saint Mary's defeated the Matadors 7-3 in game one of a four game series. This marks the 14th time in the first 20 games the Gaels pitching staff has allowed three runs or less.
Ben Griset (2-1) earned his second-career win, throwing six quality innings. He scattered two hits, two runs, one earned, with four walks and four strike outs. The Saint Mary's (13-7) bullpen did the rest, as two pitchers combined to throw three innings, scattering two hits, one run.
Cal State Northridge (10-12) scored first, tallying two runs in the top of the second. Northridge's right fielder Miles Williams led off the inning with a double down the left field line, Marty Bowen walked on five pitches to put runners at first and second with no outs. After a sacrifice bunt by left fielder Nate Ring, the Matadors had runners at first and second, with one away. Northridge added to the drama when catcher Alexis Mercado walked on seven pitches to load the bases. A ground out to third by Kyle Attle scored Williams from third for the first run of the game. Brett Balkan hit a ground ball to short that looked like it would end the inning without further damage, however Collin Ferguson dropped the throw from Ricky Boas that kept the inning alive and scored Bowen for the second run of the inning. Griset got out of the jam by getting Ryan Raslowsky to strike out swinging on a nasty breaking ball.
Things started out promising for Cal State Northridge's starter Vincent Roberts (0-4). Roberts retired six of the first seven batters he faced; the one exception was a one out walk to Wisdom in the bottom of the second.
In the bottom of the third the Gaels got on the board. Toby DeMello doubled down the left field line on a ball that was a few feet shy of becoming his first career home run. He moved over to third on the deep fly ball to right center by Donald Collins. DeMello came around to score on the ground out to short by Boas.
In the bottom of the fourth the Gaels took the lead for good with a three run outburst. Ferguson led off the frame with a walk, after Wisdom struck out, Ferguson stole second base for his first career stolen bag. Chris Murphy walked putting two runners on for Brenden Kalfus who smashed a ball down the right field line that carried to the wall. Both Ferguson and Murphy scored, with Murphy sliding just under the tag. DeMello got hit by a pitch on a 3-2 count to put runners at first and second. After Collins flied out to right field, Boas singled through the left side scoring Kalfus from second for the third run of the inning.
The Gaels added a run in the fifth when Channing doubled down the left field line, he came around to score on the single by Wisdom. Roberts would end the fifth inning without further damage, but that would be it for him, as he went just 5.0 innings, allowing six hits, five runs, four earned, with three walks and two strike outs.
Griset came back out for the top of the sixth and worked around another Gael defensive miscue, getting a strike out and a lazy fly out to left field to end the inning.
Ryan Brockett came in to the game for the Gaels in the top of the seventh and needed just 14 pitches to get out of that inning, getting a strike out and two fly outs. With the scoreless inning, Brockett ran his scoreless innings streak to 15.2 innings.
However, that streak would end there, as the Matadors scored a run in the top of the eighth off the Gaels talented lefty reliever. Back-to-back doubles by CSUN put runners at second and third with no outs. A wild pitch allowed Cal Vogelsang to score from third. That ended the day for Brockett, who went 1.1 innings, allowing two hits, 1 run, with no walks and two strike outs.
Patrick Keane game into the game and quickly got the final two outs in the eighth with a strike out and a fly out to left. Keane pitched a quick 1-2-3 ninth to close out the game for his second save of the year and sixth of his career.
Saint Mary's scored two more insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth to help put the game away. Seven batters recorded a hit on the afternoon, as SMC improves to 13-1 when outhitting their opponent. DeMello led the Gaels going 2-for-3 with a run scored and a run driven in. Boas and Kalfus each drove in a pair, with Kalfus scoring two runs. Wisdom extended his hitting streak to six games and has now reached safely in 12 consecutive games which is a team-high this season.
The Gaels will return to action tomorrow, at 2:00 p.m. at Louis Guisto Field. Saturday's double header has been rescheduled to Sunday with the change of rain in the forecast.