Moraga, CA – Kyle Jensen put the Gaels ahead for good in the bottom of the first when he clubbed his 13th homerun of the season, a three-run homerun over the right field wall. Jensen also clubbed three doubles on the day and starter Brian Justice (6-2) outdueled all-American pitcher A.J. Griffin (6-2) as Saint Mary’s (22-17/4-6 WCC) handed San Diego (24-13/7-3 WCC) their third loss in conference by a final score of 14-4 Friday afternoon at Louis Guisto Field.
Jensen wasn’t alone on the Saint Mary’s hit parade, as eight of the nine Gael’s starters notched at least one hit. Anthony Aliotti and Chris Murphy remain red hot, Aliotti went 2-for-5 with a run scored and two driven in, he also hit his sixth double of the season. Murphy has been on a tear this week, as the freshman went 2-for-4 with three runs scored and a run driven in, he also collected his third double of the season. Michael Gastelum and Timothy David each collected multiple hits, and both clubbed doubles.
Taking the ball for Saint Mary’s was the senior Justice who quickly found himself in a bit of a jam with runners at first and third with no outs in the top of the first. Sean Nicole led off the inning with a single and moved over to third on a single from Chris Ingle and error from Jensen. Jensen made up for the error the very next batter throwing Nicole out at home on the potential sac fly. Justice issued a third single to Zach Walters but then induced the pop-up from catcher Nick McCoy to end the inning.
On the hill for San Diego was the converted all-American closer Griffin who is now USD’s Friday starter due to their injuries in their starting rotation. Aliotti got things started for the Gaels, as he clubbed a double to deep center field. Troy Channing reached by way of a HBP putting runners at first and second with one out. Jensen then went to work, putting the Gaels in the lead for good with a titanic blast over the right field wall.
In the bottom half of the second David added the third extra base-hit of the game for the Gaels, knocking a ball just down the left field line. He moved over to third on the base hit through the left side from Murphy. David was thrown out at home on the fielder’s choice from Gastelum giving SMC runners at first and second for Miller. Miller flied out to center field, bringing up Aliotti with runners at first and second. Aliotti did his job collecting his second hit of the day into right field scoring Murphy at second putting the Gaels up four.
Brian Justice continued to put zeros up on the board, getting out of the top of the third by striking out Nick McCoy looking, scattering Torero runners Meador and Zach Walters at first and third.
San Diego got on the board in the top of the fifth when designated hitter Mike Lugo hit a solo homerun over the right field fence, it came after Justice got ahead on a 0-2 count. That’s all the Toreros would tally, as Justice set down the next two batters with routine fly balls, and a ground ball from Walters to end the inning.
Saint Mary’s got that run back in the home half of the inning, when Jensen notched his second double of the game, a shot to the right center gap scoring Channing all the way from first. Channing reached by way of a single to left field. The double was Jensen’s 10th of the season, and the RBI was his 32nd of the year. Fazio collected his fifth double of the season, knocking in Jensen and moving Mulligan to third giving the Gaels a five run lead. Murphy reached safely on an error by the second baseman Engell that allowed Mulligan to score from third. Gastelum kept the big inning going with a double down the right field line scoring Fazio.
In the bottom of the sixth the Toreros handed the ball off to relief pitcher Chris Jensen, ending the day for Griffin. Griffin’s line on the day was 5.0 innings pitched, surrendering 10 hits, eight runs, six earned, two walks and five strike outs. Chris Jensen got Channing to ground out to the second baseman to begin the inning. However in the battle of Jensen’s, SMC’s Jensen picked up his third double of the afternoon, a shot to right center. David added the ninth run of the game for Saint Mary’s on an infield single towards second base, scoring Jensen from third. A walk to Murphy ended the day for Chris Jensen who failed to get out of the bottom of the sixth.
Gastelum received an RBI the easy way, getting a bases loaded walk, from new pitcher Nick Youpel. Miller drove in a run on a bunt single down the third base line scoring David. Youpel issued another bases loaded free pass, this time to Aliotti, giving the Gaels an 11 run lead. San Diego was forced to go back to the bullpen, using their third pitcher of the inning, as Paul Sewald came in to the game facing Troy Channing with the bases loaded. Channing picked up his 53rd RBI of the season after getting hit by a pitch on the forearm for the fifth run of the inning.
In the top of the seventh San Diego added a run, as Lugo led off the inning wearing a pitch off his hand. Lugo moved over to third on the double from Nicole and came around to score on the single up the middle Ingle. That ended the day for Gaels starter Brian Justice, who pitched 6.0 plus innings, scattering 11 hits, four runs, all earned, no walks and four strike outs.
In to pitch for SMC was freshman Mark Anderson who issued a single to Meador scoring Engell and Nicole to bring the Toreros within nine. Walters struck out swinging for the first out of the inning, Torero’s first baseman Tony Strazzara popped up to Aliotti for the second out, and Anderson got out of the inning getting Jon Hotta to strike out swinging.
Alex Schmarzo came into the game in the top of the eighth, and pitched a very efficient inning, he got leadoff hitter Steven Chatwood to fly out to center, and then got back to back ground ball outs after giving up a single to Lugo.
In the bottom of the eighth Gastelum added his second RBI double of the day, on a shot down the left field line, scoring Murphy who doubled to left center to lead off the inning. Miller drew a four pitch walk to put runners at first and second with no outs for Aliotti, who grounded into the 4-6-3 double play.
In the top of the ninth Aliotti made his 2009 season debut on the mound and pitched beautifully, making very quick work of the heart of the Torero order, getting Meador and Walters to ground out to new third baseman Greg Ditmer, and then struck out Brian Farris to end the game. All told Saint Mary's scored 14 runs and tallied 15 hits, en route to the Gael's ending their six game losing streak to the Toreros, the win also halted a five game skid in conference play.
Saint Mary’s and San Diego will play game two of this three game series tomorrow, with the Gaels looking for the series win, first pitch is slated for 1:00 PM.