April 21, 2006
Portland, OR- The Saint Mary's baseball team exploded for eight runs in the second and six more in the ninth to take the series opener from the Portland Pilots 16-3 Friday afternoon from Merlo Field. Senior Sam Carter and freshman Joel Staples both belted two home runs a piece to pace SMC. After the day, the Gaels improve to 21-16 overall and 6-4 in West Coast Conference play.
In the top of the second, the Gaels jumped all over Pilots starter Ari Ronick, amassing eight runs on eight hits in the frame. Senior Mike Harris began the scoring barrage with a single to left field that brought in Preston Young.
Sophomore backstop Ian Gordon followed with a two-run single through the right side that brought in seniors Delaney Gallagher and Orben Frederick. Junior Eric Cattoni then enabled Harris to cross the plate on a fielder's choice.
Staples and Carter supplied the big blows in the inning. The newcomer drilled a Ronick pitch to dead-center that cleared the wall to bring in Cattoni and then Carter followed suit with a solo-shot over the left field wall. The back-to-back jacks mark the second time this season that the Gaels have accomplished that feat.
The Gaels were not done in the inning though as Young and Gallagher smashed back-to-back doubles which enabled Gallagher to tally his second run in the inning.
SMC would add one more in the fourth. Staples again went deep, this time a solo-shot over the left field wall off Portland reliever Joe Jones. The multi-home run game was a career first for Staples and it marks the fourth on the season for the true freshman.
After UP tallied its three runs in the bottom half of the fifth, SMC would add another in top of the seventh. Carter would not be out-done by his freshman teammate, belting his second round-tripper in the game, this one a majestic solo-shot over the center field wall. The homer is Carter's 10th on the season which catapults him over teammate Young for third all-time on the SMC home run list with 24.
For good measure SMC added six more in the top of the ninth. Frederick started the scoring with a single through the left side that brought in Carter. Harris then drew a bases loaded walk that enabled pinch-runner Cory Miller to trot home from third.
Staples added onto his big day with a fielder's choice RBI that brought in Harris. Carter drove in senior Adam Hicks when he found the gap in left field.
On the hill, senior Joel Fountain (7-3) earned the victory. The senior went seven strong, allowing three runs on nine hits while striking out seven. Seniors Justin Sloan and Dan Lewis combined to pitch two scoreless innings.
Offensively, the Gaels were paced by Carter and Staples. Carter finished the day 3-for-5 with three RBIs and three runs scored. Staples batted 2-for-6 with four RBIs and two runs scored. Gallagher chipped in with a 3-for-4 effort, scoring twice while Cattoni and Frederick each tallied two hits.
Saint Mary's will return to the diamond tomorrow and look to take the series from Portland at 1 p.m. First pitch will come from Merlo Field.