April 27, 2007
Moraga, CA- The Portland Pilots spoiled a great outing by Saint Mary's hurler Alex Jensen with three runs in the ninth to pull out the 3-2 series opening victory. The Gaels took a 1-0 lead into the ninth but the comeback bid of the Pilots stunned SMC Friday afternoon from Louis Guisto Field. After the day, Saint Mary's falls to 17-24-1 overall and 0-13 in West Coast Conference play.
The Gaels gave what looked like would be enough run support for Jensen. Saint Mary's plated a run in the third inning when freshman Randy Wells singled up the middle to bring home Michael Cipolla from second.
Jensen tossed a gem in his first conference start. The junior college transfer allowed five hits and struck out five in six innings. Senior Michael Nisco struck out two and allowed a hit in two innings of relief.
The Pilots finally got to the Gaels in the final frame. Freshman closer Taylor Stanton was tagged with the loss after Rocky Gale cleared the bases with a double down the left field line.
Portland starter David Gruener struck out four and scattered eight hits in the win. After surrendering a run in the bottom of the ninth, Gruener gave way to senior reliever Josh Roberts with a runner on first and two outs. Roberts induced a game-ending fly out from pinch hitter Michael Gonzales to pick up his fifth save this season.
Cipolla and Wells both led the Gaels with two hits apiece. Gale led all hitters with a 3-for-3 day. Both teams tallied eight hits.
Behind the dish, junior Ian Gordon made some incredible defensive plays. The back stop turned a double play on a bunt attempt that he caught right in front of the plate. Gordon quickly threw to first for the twin killing.
The two teams will square off tomorrow in game two of the three-game set. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. from Louis Guisto Field.