BSB | Dirtbags Down Gaels On Opening Day
The Saint Mary's baseball team held a 1-0 lead for six innings Friday before host Long Beach State came back to win
LONG BEACH, Calif. - A pitchers' duel perpetuated itself for seven innings Friday night with only one run separating Saint Mary's and host Long Beach State late into the game, but the Dirtbags were finally able to break through with a two-out seventh-inning rally, overcoming a 1-0 deficit to win 4-1 on Opening Day 2018 at Blair Field.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Saint Mary's (0-1) got on the board first, with sophomore outfielder Joe Vranesh hitting the fifth home run of his career and first of 2018 with one out in the second inning. His solo shot cleared the center field fence to give the Gaels an early 1-0 lead.
- Junior newcomer Nick Frank (0-1) was solid in his Saint Mary's debut despite taking the loss, not allowing a walk and striking out four in 6 2/3 innings. Long Beach State (1-0) had its leadoff batter reach in four of the first five innings, but Frank blanked them each time.
- The Dirtbags finally broke through against Frank in the bottom of the seventh, scoring three runs on four singles - all after two outs had been recorded. Frank gave up the first two singles, both just bloops to center and right field landing in front of the Gaels fielders.
- Conner Loeprich came in to relieve Frank in the bottom of the seventh looking to get the final out and end the threat. He worked Clayton Andrews to a full count, but Andrews was able to shoot a game-tying RBI single up the middle to make it 1-1. After a stolen base, Chris Jimenez followed with a two-run single to give LBSU its first lead of the game at 3-1.
- Joey Fiske and Brett Rasso drew back-to-back one-out walks in the top of the eighth to set the table for No. 3 and 4 hitters Kevin Milam (12 home runs in 2017) and Jackson Thoreson (nine home runs in 2017). But two different Long Beach State relievers were able to escape the jam and hold on to the lead.
- 0: Gaels pitchers did not issue a single walk Friday. Frank went 6 2/3 innings without a base on balls, and Conner Loeprich (1/3 IP) and Ty Madrigal (1 IP) both also did not issue free passes.
- 3 for 9: SMC's 1-2-3 hitters of Fiske, Rasso and Milam went a combined 3 for 9 (.333) with three walks, attempting to set the table for the Gaels.
- 0 for 11: But the Gaels' middle-of-the-order (Thoreson, Haus, Chauvin) went a combined 0 for 11 with six strikeouts.
- 17: Long Beach State pitchers struck out 17 Gaels on the night. All but one Gael (Rasso) struck out at least once, with seven Gaels striking out at least twice. LBSU starter Zak Baayoun struck out a career-high 12 in his first collegiate start.
- Game two of the series is set for a 2 p.m. first pitch on Saturday. Saint Mary's sends right-hander Kevin Milam to the mound for his first collegiate start versus LBSU right-hander Eli Villalobos.
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