Moraga, CA – Saint Mary’s improved to 2-1 following a two-game sweep on Saturday afternoon versus Oregon (1-2) on the strength of the Gaels’ starting pitching and timely hitting. Scott Schneider and Taylor Reid each picked up wins, while Troy Channing clubbed his first collegiate homerun.
In game one Schneider was on cruise control, pitching seven complete innings, scattering seven hits, and giving up three earned runs, while walking none and striking out eight. The first three innings were uneventful for the Ducks, being retired almost in order. Schneider did give up a two-run homerun in the top of the fourth to Oregon’s right fielder Jett Hart to tie the score at 2-2.
First baseman Anthony Aliotti made sure that the score would not remain tied for long, as he connected for his second career homerun following a leadoff walk to Justin Fazio, the long fly ball to deep right center put the Gaels up for good 4-2.
Fazio had strong 2009 debut, going 3-for-6 on the afternoon scoring three big runs and driving in a run. Ryan Mulligan and Greg Ditmer continued their hot starts, as they both went collected big hits on the afternoon. Ditmer drove in his first career RBI in the second game.
Taking the loss for the Ducks in game one was starter Erik Stavert who went 5.1 innings, with giving up five hits, five runs, all earned, while walking two and striking out four. Stavert struggled early with his command constantly falling behind the batters, and ultimately was burned by Aliotti’s long ball.
Brandon Berl came in the game in the top of the seventh to close out the game, pitching two complete, surrendering just one hit, surrendering no runs, with one walk and a strike out.
In game two Taylor Reid had it all working, locating his fastball, and using his breaking ball effectively. On the afternoon he went 7.1, scattering seven hits, with two runs, one earned, with one walk and two strike outs.
Daniel Alcaire made the play of the game in the top of the eight. With the bases loaded with ducks and one out, Curtis Raulinaitis hit a short fly ball into centerfield that appeared destined to fall for a base hit that would score two runs. Alcaire got on his horse and made a basket catch in short centerfield and quickly got the ball back into the infield to hold the runners from advancing. A can of corn fly ball from shortstop KC Serna ended the Duck threat and kept the 4-2 lead intact.
Alex Schmarzo, the recipient of the nifty defense from Alcaire, came into the game in the top of the seventh for Taylor Reid, and aside from a walk to Caleb Tommasini, was lights out, giving up no hits, no runs, and a strike out.
Troy Channing put the Gaels ahead for good in the bottom of the fifth when he hit his first career homerun off of starter Bennett Whitmore.
For the Ducks in game two Whitmore was impressive, going 6.1 innings, surrendering eight hits, four runs, all earned one walk and 10 strike outs. At one point in the game Whitmore struck out six straight batters in the third and fourth.
The Gaels and the Ducks will play the final of the four-game series, tomorrow afternoon at Louis Guisto Field, with a 1:00 PM first pitch. On the mound for the Gaels is Anthony Aliotti, for the Ducks it will be Madison Boer.