May 5, 2006
(Moraga, CA) - It took nearly five innings for USF baseball to collect its first hit against Saint Mary's in West Coast Conference play Friday afternoon at Louis Guisto Field, but the Dons woke up for a thrilling come-from-behind 6-4 win. Junior outfielder Luke Sommer and senior outfielder Stefan Gartrell hit home runs for the Dons (30-19, 10-6 WCC) who won their fifth straight against the Gaels (24-20, 9-7 WCC).
With the victory, San Francisco moved into a share of first place with Pepperdine, which suffered a loss at Gonzaga on Friday.
Saint Mary's jumped out to an early lead scoring a pair of runs in the first and plated single runs in the third and seventh. Senior right-hander Joel Fountain allowed just one base runner in his first four innings - a walk to junior catcher Jonathan Norfolk, who broke through for the Dons first hit to lead off the fifth. Sommer followed with a two-run homer to deep right - his second of the year and second in as many games - to cut the Saint Mary's lead to 3-2. Sommer was in an 0-2 hole early in his at-bat against Fountain but worked the count full before launching the 10th pitch he saw into the parking lot.
Gartrell led off the seventh with his fifth home run of the season to deep left center. Sommer followed with a one-out triple and scored on an RBI single from sophomore infielder Mitchell Bialosky as the Dons seized their first lead of the game at 4-3.
Saint Mary's immediately tied the contest with a run in the seventh, but the Dons were not done, tacking on a pair of runs in the eighth off junior right-hander Dan Lewis (5-2). Senior shortstop Andrew Smith reached on a one-out infield hit, advanced to second and scored on an RBI single from Gartrell, his league-leading 53rd RBI of the season. Norfolk plated Gartrell on an RBI double from Norfolk to take a 6-4 lead.
Junior left-hander Scott Cousins battled for the Dons as the WCC Player of the Month for April allowed four runs off nine hits and struck out five Gaels in 6.2 innings. Cousins worked out of a couple big jams and left the bases loaded in the third.
Freshman right-hander John Quine (4-3) picked up the win in relief for the Dons, allowing one hit in 1.1 innings with a pair of strikeouts. Senior right-hander Patrick McGuigan collected his second save of the season, recording two strikeouts and needed just 10 pitches to secure the Dons victory.
Gartrell and Sommer each collected a pair of hits for the Dons, who made the most of their six hits. USF stranded just three runners, while the Gaels collected 10 hits, but stranded eight.
USF takes on the Gaels in game two of its WCC series Saturday. First pitch against Saint Mary's is set for 1:00 PM at Louis Guisto Field.
NOTES: With the win, USF has posted back-to-back 30-win seasons for the first time in program and school history. The Dons set the single-season victory mark with 38 in 2005. ...San Francisco improved to a remarkable 16-15 on the road this season... already USF's all-time saves leader, McGuigan collected the 15th of his career.