PORTLAND, Ore. -- Anthony Gonsolin tossed seven shutout innings and the Saint Mary's baseball team closed its opening weekend of West Coast Conference play in the best way possible, beating host Portland 2-0 to finish a three-game sweep of the Pilots at Joe Etzel Field.
One week after he impressed in his first significant relief duty of the season, Gonsolin got the ball for his first start Sunday in perhaps one of the biggest opportunities Saint Mary's (11-12, 3-0 WCC) will have all season. With a win against the Pilots, the momentum gained from a weekend of winning would carry on rather than fizzling with a series-ending loss.
The right-hander from Vacaville, Calif. did his best to make sure the weekend was an unquestioned success. He struck out seven in seven innings, walking just two and scattering five hits before calling it a day.
On the offensive side, Saint Mary's did all of its scoring in the fifth inning. Darian Ramage led off with a single and eventually advanced to third after a groundout, flyout and wild pitch. That brought Ricky Boas to the plate with two outs and the senior shortstop delivered in the clutch, singling to center to plate the Gaels' first run.
After a walk to Collin Ferguson, Boas stole third and stood just 90 feet away from scoring an important insurance run. Anthony Villa continued the clutch hitting, sending a 2-1 pitch to right field for an RBI single and giving Saint Mary's the 2-0 lead.
Gonsolin pitched three more innings before the Gaels' bullpen took over. Right-hander Jake Valdez pitched the final two frames, with Portland (5-18, 0-6) making its biggest noise in the eighth when Caleb Whalen reached third with two outs. Valdez struck out Ryan Littlefield to end the threat though, then struck out two of the three hitters he faced in the ninth to earn his first save.
Ferguson led the Saint Mary's offense on Sunday with two hits. The Gaels collected just seven as a team but finished the weekend with 32 over the three games combined. Saint Mary's was also solid defensively, bouncing back from a rough day in the field Saturday to commit no errors in the series finale.
Saint Mary's returns to Moraga for a busy week of action, beginning with Tuesday's 3 p.m. showdown with Stanford. BYU visits Louis Guisto Field for three games starting Thursday at 3, followed by a Friday game that also starts at 3 and Saturday's series finale at noon.