By: Alex Crook, SMCGaels.com Correspondent
MORAGA, Calif. — The Saint Mary’s baseball team played yet another close back-and-forth game with Grand Canyon Sunday, but the Gaels couldn’t finish off the sweep, dropping a hard-fought 6-4 decision in the series finale at Louis Guisto Field.
The Gaels’ (7-3) six, seven and eight hitters did the majority of the damage, recording four of the team’s six hits on the day. Those included a double from Edward Haus and an RBI single from Charles Zaloumis. Both came in the second inning.
“I think our whole lineup is dangerous,” said Zaloumis, who went 2 for 4 in the effort. “Everyone can hit. It’s a great feeling knowing you can rely on anybody, but we have to get better.”
Jake Valdez tossed 6 1/3 innings with five strikeouts before head coach Eric Valenzuela pulled the redshirt senior in place of Ken Waldichuk. It was Valdez’s first start on the mound since 2015 when he left the game with an elbow injury that eventually resulted in Tommy John surgery.
Zach Kirtley went 1 for 4, but his RBI single in the sixth inning, his sixth of the year, tied the game at 3-3.
Kevin Milam continued what has been a very productive freshman season to date, recording his eighth RBI of the year in the second inning in a 1 for 3 performance. It was the Gaels’ 21st run of the series, but still not enough to get the sweep.
“We learned by losing a game that you can’t lose focus,” Milam said. “You have to compete all the way through the series.”
“We got a little tougher,” Valenzuela described as the team’s biggest lesson from the series with the Lopes. “We battled up until the last inning today, so I think we learned a lot. Grand Canyon is a good quality team. We got to see some guys who haven’t played much, so that helps a lot. We’re going to need everybody moving forward.”
Saint Mary’s continues its five-game home stand Monday with a 2 p.m. start time as the Gaels host UNLV. Tickets are available for purchase on SMCGaels.com or by calling the SMC Ticket Office at (925) 631-GoTx.
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