By: Alex Crook, SMCGaels.com Correspondent
MORAGA, Calif. — Kevin Milam and Jackson Thoreson each hit two-run home runs, Conner Loeprich threw six strong innings and the Saint Mary’s baseball team beat Pacific 5-1 Saturday afternoon at Louis Guisto Field for their third conference series win this season.
After seeing what the Pacific offense could do in Friday’s series opener with an 8-3 lead, the Gaels’ pitching staff made sure not to let the Tigers replicate that performance.
“The pitching matchup today was better,” head coach Eric Valenzeula said, “with (Conner) Loeprich in his stuff and showing what he’s able to do. It’s better suited against this team.”
Loeprich carried the Gaels (25-13, 8-6 WCC) in the win, improving to 5-1 with six solid innings of work and just one run on a throwing error. 19 of the 25 batters he faced saw a first-pitch strike.
“I knew coming into today I had to keep everything down,” Loeprich said, “work a lot of my off-speed pitches low and let (the batters) get themselves out.”
Game two was tied 1-1 through the first six innings, but SMC kept its foot on the pedal and saw it pay off with the bats of Milam and Thoreson, whose home runs two innings apart widened the gap.
“It was big,” Thoreson said. “You don’t want to go a whole game tied 1-1, so when you can add a couple more insurance runs, it makes everything – defense, calling pitches – easier.”
After not recording an RBI all season until Friday’s series opener, Conor Thane batted in his second run of the season Saturday afternoon with a sac fly in the second inning.
Ken Waldichuk followed up a rough outing against Loyola Marymount on Saturday with a strong redemption appearance, throwing two innings of shutout ball with two strikeouts to help the Gaels lock up the win and series.
Saint Mary’s will conclude its three-game series with Pacific Sunday afternoon with another 1 p.m. first pitch. Tickets can be purchased on SMCGaels.com or by calling (925) 631-GoTx. Fans can tune into the action at SMCGaels.com/GaelVision.
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