Pacific baseball had a four-run lead through the first two and a half innings, but a nine-run Saint Mary's third inning erased the lead and spurred the Gaels on to a 12-7 victory and the series sweep over Pacific.
The Tigers offense was strong in the loss. It created the early lead and scored in each of the game's first five innings. Sophomore infielder Alex LeForestier went 3-4 at the plate with three RBIs. Sophomore catcher Bryce Kirk and junior outfielder Keaton Glover also had three-hit days and both had RBIs. Seniors Nate Verlin and Kevin Sandri also recorded RBIs in the game.
The game was easily the most offensive of the series. In the previous two games, the teams scored a combined nine runs. Pacific and Saint Mary's combined to score 10 runs in the third inning of today's game alone.
Pacific's offense got going early with four runs in the first three innings. In the first, back-to-back hit by pitches from Saint Mary's starter Tyler Thornton and a single from junior catcher James Free loaded the bases. A single from LeForestier made it 2-0. In the second, Thornton helped the Tigers again with back-to-back walks. The runners would advance and a sacrifice fly from Sandri scored another run. In the third inning, Glover singled to score sophomore catcher Bryce Kirk to make it 4-0.
In the bottom of the third inning, Saint Mary's offense snapped into gear. Junior left-handed pitcher Tommy Costello took over on the mound for Pacific's starter, sophomore Hayden Pearce. Costello got the first two outs of the inning, but a two-run double got Saint Mary's going. Two batters later, a triple scored three runs and gave Saint Mary's a 5-4 lead. Costello would allow another run before leaving the game for junior right-handed pitcher David Rajeski. By the end of the inning, Saint Mary's had scored nine times off of eight hits to take a 9-4 lead.
LeForestier and Kirk both recorded RBIs in the fourth inning to make it 9-6 then a Nate Verlin single in the sixth inning scored senior Bradley Jekich to make the score 9-7 and get the Tigers back in the game.
Unfortunately, The Tiger offense stalled in the closing innings and Saint Mary's added three more runs in the bottom of the sixth to add on to the lead and eventually win by the score of 12-7.
The loss gave Saint Mary's a sweep of the West Coast Conference series opener over the Tigers. It was also Pacific's first loss this season in which the Tigers score five or more runs.
Pacific returns home on Tuesday for a game with Fresno State at 6 p.m. Join us for $2 Dollar Tuesday when tickets, sodas and popcorn are all just $2. Pacific continues WCC play next weekend when it travels to Loyola Marymount for three games on March 22-24.