MORAGA, Calif. — The bats were hot Friday at Louis Guisto Field as both teams combined for 23 runs and 25 hits, but an early 5-2 lead and a banner day from Jackson Thoreson helped the Saint Mary’s baseball team chalk up a season-high 12 runs in a series-opening 12-11 win over Grand Canyon.
Thoreson, who was named last week’s West Coast Conference Player of the Week, went 2 for 4 with four RBIs. That included a three-run home run, his third on the year out of the team’s four.
“The score is what you would expect on a Friday with teams coming out showing their best stuff,” Thoreson said. “Grand Canyon is one of those teams on the West Coast you don’t see that much, so you’re not always sure how to respond.”
GCU spread its 11 runs across the nine frames and at times threatened to pull away, but the Gaels (6-2) never strayed too far behind whenever the Lopes took the lead.
Edward Haus went 3 for 5 on the day with two singles and an RBI double in the first inning, backing the team’s second-highest hit total of the season (13).
“It was a dogfight from the start,” Haus said. “We were fired up early on. We weren’t about to lose to these guys and put up five runs in the bottom half of the inning.”
The Lopes struck first with a two-run home run, but Saint Mary’s was not fazed by the early deficit.
“We just wanted to strike back,” Haus said. “Five runs off the bat is pretty big. It’s everyone contributing. It’s great to see as a team.”
Ken Waldichuk earned his first collegiate win, entering the game in the fifth inning as a relief pitcher, the Gaels’ second of the day. The freshman tossed a brief 2/3 of an inning with a strikeout.
When times were tough for Saint Mary’s the offense stepped up and forced Grand Canyon to make the necessary changes.
“The offense was there,” Saint Mary’s head coach Eric Valenzuela said. “We got some big hits and got into their bullpen. The punch back after they scored two (runs) early was big.”
The series continues Saturday with game two slated for a noon first pitch. Tickets are available for purchase on SMCGaels.com or by calling the SMC Ticket Office at (925) 631-GoTx.
SUPPORT THE GAELS
A gift to the Gael Athletic Fund directly benefits Saint Mary's student-athletes, allowing them the opportunity to attain an education guided by our Catholic, Lasallian and Liberal Arts traditions. Click the link for more information.
FOLLOW THE GAELS
@SMCGaels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) SMC_Gaels (Snapchat)