May 13, 2007
(San Francisco, CA) - It's fitting that on Senior Day, a senior would come through and win the game for the Dons. Down 10-9 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth and a runner on first, senior catcher Jon Norfolk blasted a two-run walk-off homer over the right field fence to win the game for USF (27-28, 9-12 WCC). San Francisco came from behind twice to get the 11-10 victory over Saint Mary's (21-29-1, 3-18 WCC) in their final game of the 2007 season. USF has now swept SMC in three consecutive series, dating back to the 2005 season.
SMC got off to an early 5-1 lead, scoring four in the first and one in the second off USF's junior right-hander Tommy Peale, but the Dons tied it in the third. Senior left fielder Jonnie Knoble singled and an out later senior first baseman Chris Bacigalupi doubled. Knoble and Bacigalupi scored on junior right fielder Luke Sommer's double to right. Sommer then scored on Norfolk's single to left before Norfolk capped the scoring, crossing the plate on junior shortstop Brian Chavez's double to center.
USF added a run in the sixth before the Gaels retook the lead by plating five runs over the last three innings. Down 10-6 going into the bottom of the ninth, senior center fielder Lucas DeLong was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Junior second baseman Joey Railey singled before Knoble singled home DeLong. Railey and Knoble completed a double steal and another catcher miscue in the ninth cost the Gaels. Railey scored and Knoble advanced to third as SMC's junior catcher Ian Gordon threw the ball into left field. Knoble then scored on freshman third baseman Derek Poppert's sacrifice fly to right.
With two outs, Sommer put a sure out into the air, but SMC's senior left fielder Eric Cattoni started his celebration a little too soon, and dropped Sommer's easy fly ball. That error left the inning open as Norfolk stepped to the plate. In his final collegiate at bat, Norfolk battled with a 1-2 count to pound the ball over the right field fence.
Norfolk was the hero on the day, going 3-for-5 with his third homerun of the year, three RBI and two runs scored, all while getting battered and bruised behind the dish. Bacigalupi had three hits in his final collegiate game with two doubles, an RBI and one run scored. Knoble went 3-for-4 with a double, an RBI, three runs scored and two stolen bases. Knoble ends his USF career on top of the all-time stolen base percentage chart at .847. With Knoble's help, the Dons lead the West Coast Conference in stolen bases for the fourth consecutive year.
Senior designated hitter Blake Nelson crushed a ball that didn't stop until it sailed over the tall left field fence and across Golden Gate Avenue for a solo homerun that put the Dons up 6-5 in the sixth. DeLong got the rally started in the ninth and scored USF's first of five runs in the inning. Senior Daniel Morales pinch hit for Nelson in the eighth.
Junior left-hander Matt Baugh (3-3) earned the win in relief, striking out three in the ninth.
SMC's freshman right-hander Taylor Stanton (1-6) took the loss, giving up Norfolk's homerun.
That concludes the 2006 USF Baseball season. Thank you for your support and be sure to check www.USFDons.com for all your Dons baseball news.