Stanford, CA – The heavens finally parted and Saint Mary’s (7-2) and Stanford (2-6) got their game in. The story Thursday evening at the Sunken Diamond was the strong pitching from Kyle Barraclough and the clutch hitting from the Gael offense, who tallied five two out RBI’s. Saint Mary’s would hold on to win the game 6-5 extending the nations third longest road winning streak to four games.
Saint Mary’s didn’t take long to get on the board as junior Kyle Jensen hit a no-doubt homerun over the left field fence in the top of the first inning. Left fielder Toby Gerhart took two steps back and simply watched it after that, putting the Gaels up 1-0. Taking the ball for the Cardinal in the first inning was senior Max Fearnow (0-2), who pitched just one inning.
Taking the mound for the Gaels was freshman Kyle Barraclough (2-0); Barraclough was impressive in his Saint Mary’s debut last Tuesday, shutting down the potent Stanford lineup for five innings in his way to first collegiate win. It would have been difficult for Barraclough to repeat that performance, but the tough freshman did it anyway, going six complete, scattering four hits, giving up two runs, all earned, with three walks and eight strike outs.
In the top of the second the Gaels got back on the board again, this time by way of small ball. Anthony Aliotti led off the inning working the count and drew a walk, freshman Chris Murphy hit Aliotti over to second on a groundball to the third baseman, and Michael Gastelum singled up the middle to score Aliotti putting the Gaels up 2-0.
Stanford would get on the board in the bottom of the third when a base-hit from Zach Jones would move shortstop Jake Schlander to third base. A wild pitch from Barraclough would score Schlander and advance Jones all the way from first to third. Barraclough would rebound sharply getting Toby Gerhart to strike out on an excuse me swing to end the threat, 2-1 Saint Mary’s.
SMC would go after the Cardinal again in the top of the fourth, Aliotti drew a two-out walk, Ditmer knocked a single to the right side to advance Aliotti, and Murphy drew a walk to load the bases for Gastelum. Gastelum did not disappoint, working the count into a favorable hitter’s situation and roped a single into right field scoring Aliotti and Ditmer. Miller followed up Ditmer’s single with a line drive single to short left field scoring Murphy giving the Gaels a 5-1 lead, all after two outs.
In the bottom of the fourth Barraclough would struggle a little, giving up a leadoff double to Joey August down the right field line, Milleville would draw a walk to put runners at first and second with one out. However Barraclough would battle back, getting Griffiths and Clowe to strike out swinging to end the threat.
In the top of the fifth the lead off walk would again haunt the Cardinal as Mulligan led off the inning watching four straight pitches miss the zone for a free pass. Channing would do his job and hit Mulligan over to second and get him into scoring position for Aliotti. Aliotti would pick up Channing and hit a sharp line drive through the right side to score Mulligan from second, making the score 6-1. The RBI for Aliotti would be the fifth two out RBI of the game for the Gaels.
Barraclough’s final two innings of work were quick but impressive, as the young right hander recorded four strike outs, a solo homerun to Killsgard the only blemish. Brandon Berl came into the game in relief for the Gaels in the bottom of the seventh and dealt, getting through the inning 1-2-3 with a pop up to the second baseman and back to back strike outs.
Stanford would make it interesting in the bottom of the eighth however, as Berl served up back to back singles to Jones and Gerhart, and then a double to centerfield to August to make the score 6-4 Saint Mary’s, with Stanford still threatening. Killsgard would single and there would be runners at first and third. Milleville would fly out in foul territory to score August and advance Killsgard, for the first out with the score now 6-5 Saint Mary’s. Berl would bear down however, getting pinch hitter Kaskow to ground out 5-3 and Clowe to hit a can of corn fly ball to center field to end the inning.
In the ninth the Gaels would go down in order quietly, and Berl would be back on the mound to close out the game. Leading off the inning for the Cardinal was pinch hitter Colin Walsh, who battled Berl but hit a deep fly ball to right field for the first out of the inning. For the second out Berl would get Schlander to strike out swinging on a fastball high out of the zone. Berl would end the game getting Jones to strike out on another fastball out of the zone, for his second save of the season.
Fazio, Aliotti and Gastelum would each collect multiple hits for the Gaels, but the story was all about the freshman Barraclough who has had two impressive starts for the Gaels. Saint Mary’s will return to Louis Guisto Field on Saturday playing a double header against Sacramento State, first pitch scheduled for 11:00 AM, with Brian Justice scheduled to take the ball for the Gaels.