April 22, 2006
(Spokane, WA) - After managing just one base hit in the first five innings, the USF offense woke up from a long slumber and used a four-run sixth inning to take a 8-1 West Coast Conference victory against Gonzaga Saturday afternoon at Avista Stadium. The Dons (25-17, 7-4 WCC) evened their best of three series against the Bulldogs (25-15, 6-5 WCC) at one game apiece setting up Sunday's rubber match.
With the win - the 15th road victory of the season - San Francisco moves into a share of first place with Saint Mary's and No. 25 San Diego all with identical 7-4 league slates.
Senior outfielder Stefan Gartrell enjoyed a monster day at the plate for the Dons, going 2-for-five with a pair of doubles and five RBI. Sophomore infielder Joey Railey did an outstanding job at the top of the order for the Dons finishing 4-for-5 with a triple and scored three runs. The San Francisco native moves into sole possession of seventh place on the USF career RBI list with 111, passing Pat Walsh (1997-2000) who tallied 109.
Sophomore left-hander Aaron Poreda (4-4) pitched a strong 7.0 innings for San Francisco and worked out of trouble in the fourth. Poreda hit a pair of batters and issued a walk to load the bases, but escaped the inning with a strikeout. The Moraga native allowed just one run off six hits and struck out five, lowering his ERA to 2.36.
Junior right-hander Clayton Mortenson (6-6) suffered the loss for Gonzaga and appeared to be crusing through five one-hit scoreless innings before getting in trouble in the sixth. Mortenson allowed four runs off five hits and struck out a pair in 5.2 innings.
USF did all its damage with four outs in the sixth. Railey poked out his second infield hit of the day down the third base line and advanced to third on a two-out single by junior outfielder Scott Cousins. Gartrell doubled to deep right center to give the Dons their first lead of the series at 3-1. Junior catcher Blake Nelson drove in Gartrell with an RBI single to right center staking the Dons to a 4-1 advantage.
San Francisco tacked on an insurance run off the Bulldogs bullpen in the seventh on a one out triple to right center from Railey, who scored on a wild pitch. The Dons added three more in the top of the ninth. Junior pinch-hitter Daniel Morales singled, followed by a single from Railey. A sacrifice from senior infielder Andrew Smith gave the Dons second and third for Cousins who was intentionally walked. Gartrell made the Bulldogs pay with a bases clearing double to the wall in left center.
Junior left-hander Cole Stipovich tossed 2.0 scoreless innings of relief, allowing just one hit and struck out one of the seven batters he faced.
USF takes on Gonzaga in the rubber match Sunday at Avista Stadium. First pitch against the Bulldogs is set for 1:00 PM. The Dons will send senior right-hander Patrick McGuigan (9-1) to the mound.