By Tyler Bindi | Collegian Sports Editor
The Saint Mary’s baseball team hit the road again and traveled to Tempe, Arizona, to take on Pac-12 Conference opponent Arizona State. Saint Mary’s entered the series with a 2-2 record after winning a road series at Long Beach State (2-1) and losing a midweek game at CSU Bakersfield. The team would go into a hostile ASU environment and come out on top with a 2-1 series win.
For the Gaels, it was junior Nick Frank who led the way on the mound in his second career start for the team, going 7.1 innings while allowing just one run and tagging on nine strikeouts in a 6-1 Saint Mary’s victory. Ty Madrigal would relieve Frank of his duties with one out in the eighth inning, and proceed to finish the game with a solid 1.2 innings of work where he allowed no runs or hits.
At the plate, the Gaels scored early and often, bringing in all of their six runs in the first four innings. Eddie Haus started off the scoring in the top of the first inning with a sacrifice fly that would score the Gael’s leadoff hitter Joey Fiske, who began the game with a double. Jackson Thoreson would close out the scoring for the day with a two-RBI single in the top of the fourth inning that would put the Gaels ahead 6-1 for good.
The second game of the series was highlighted by junior third baseman Dylan Robertson. Saint Mary’s entered the eighth inning down by two, needing some magic with one runner on and two outs. That’s where Robertson stepped in. He delivered a clutch two-run homerun that would tie the game up 5-5. At this point, extra innings appeared imminent, but the Gaels weren’t done yet. Joey Fiske led off the ninth inning with a single and would make his way to third as Saint Mary’s loaded the bases with still no outs. The speedy Fiske would then scamper home on a wild pitch to give the Gaels a 6-5 lead. A one run cushion was all Michael Hobbs would need, as the freshman was able to neutralize the Sun Devil’s comeback attempt in the bottom of the ninth and walk away with a win, guaranteeing another Saint Mary’s series victory.
The Gaels went for the sweep in game three, but ended up coming just short in a 2-1 defeat. The team struggled at the plate, combining for just one run on five hits. Jackson Thoreson continued his hot hitting going 2-4 with a double, and Austin Chauvin knocked him in with a sixth inning single to provide the Gaels their lone run. Saint Mary’s sophomore Ken Waldichuk was sharp on the mound, going 7.2 innings, allowing just two runs, and tallying ten strikeouts.
The team now sets their sights towards their first home series of the year, as the Gaels (4-3) will take on Xavier University (3-4) out of the Big East Conference. Saint Mary’s will look to continue their hot start and go for a third consecutive series victory to begin the year. Game times are set for Friday at 2 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. at Louis Guisto Field in Moraga, CA.