SPOKANE, Wash. — Kevin Milam did it all Saturday, carrying the Saint Mary's baseball team to a series-clinching 9-8 win in extras over first-place Gonzaga with five hits – including the go-ahead RBI in the 10th – and 5 1/3 innings of relief pitching at Patterson Baseball Complex.
Milam's fifth hit of the day was a single up the middle in the top of the 10th that brought home Joey Fiske for the eventual game-winning run. It was the third time Saint Mary's (28-14, 11-6 West Coast Conference) had taken the lead in a back-and-forth contest between two of the conference's top-five teams. His five-hit performance was the first five-hit game by a Gael since March 8, 2015, when Connor Hornsby had five at Utah Valley.
Milam's 10th-inning go-ahead hit was him personally handing himself the victory on the mound. Milam (2-1) threw his longest outing in relief, going 5 1/3 and allowing one run, striking out six with just one walk and three scattered hits.
The game was yet another impressive offensive display for the Gaels against an opposing pitcher who entered the game with a sub-3.00 ERA. After disposing of Gonzaga (25-16, 14-6 WCC) ace Eli Morgan Friday, Saint Mary's tagged Justin Vernia for seven runs on nine hits, including three home runs. Vernia started Saturday with a 2.55 ERA.
SMC totaled 17 hits, one short of its season high, with three solo home runs. Milam, Zach Kirtley and Jackson Thoreson all went deep Saturday. The Gaels had five multi-hit performances, led by Milam's 5-for-6 display. Austin Chauvin (3 for 5) and Edward Haus (3 for 6) both had three hits for the second straight day. Conor Thane (2 for 3) had his second multi-hit game of the season and third of his career. Fiske went 2 for 6 and scored both the first run of the game and the last.
The Gaels took three separate leads in the game. Milam drove home Fiske for the first time in the first inning, giving SMC a 1-0 lead. Gonzaga tied it on a two-out, solo home run from Tyler Frost. In the third, the Gaels rallied for five runs, including back-to-back home runs by Kirtley and Milam. But again the Bulldogs answered the call with five runs of their own in the bottom half.
Thoreson's leadoff home run in the fifth tied the game at 7-7. Saint Mary's took an 8-7 lead on a Gonzaga balk in the sixth. But for the third time in the game the Bulldogs answered with a run in the bottom half.
The Gaels improved to 3-0 this season in extra innings and 10-5 in one-run games. The win counted as their 16th come-from-behind victory of the year after outscoring Gonzaga 3-1 in the final six innings to overcome a 7-6 deficit.
Sunday's series finale is scheduled for a noon first pitch. Right-hander Jake Valdez will start for Saint Mary's. The game can be watched live on SMCGaels.com.
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