Seattle University was unable to overcome an early lead by Saint Mary’s College on Sunday, dropping the tail of a four-game series with the Gaels. Saint Mary’s starter Jake Valdez (1- 0) took a five-run lead into the sixth, and although the Redhawks put up six runs in the final three innings off the Gaels’ bullpen, the effort came too late to complete the comeback.
Saint Mary’s opened the scoring with a five-run second inning off of Redhawk starter and losing pitcher Tarik Skubal (0-1). Gaels third baseman Anthony Villa broke the seal with a leadoff homer to left. After retiring Collin Ferguson and Davis Strong on a pair of fly balls, Skubal allowed back-to-back singles by Logan Steinberg and, putting runners at first and second for shortstop Brett Rasso. Rasso reached on an error by Seattle U second baseman Sheldon Stober, that also allowed Steinberg to score and Jackson to advance to third. Skubal proceeded to walk center fielder Joey Fisk, and then balk to allow all runners to advance and a run to score. A pair of wild pitches and an error by catcher Brian Olson allowed both Rasso and Fisk to score before the inning finally ended on a fly out to center.
The Gaels added two more runs in the fourth off the bat of Kirtley, who singled to score Rasso and Steinberg once again. That would be all the run support the Gael bullpen needed, however they got cushion scoring in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings, finally ending the scoring with 11 runs.
The Redhawks were unable to put anything together until the seventh inning, when DH Sean Sutton singled to right to lead off the inning. Nelson Taylor was then brought into the game as a pinch runner for Sutton. Taylor would advance on a fielder’s choice before ultimately scoring on a Gael throwing error. They added five more in the ninth, when they batted around the order and forced Gael reliever Nikko Saenz out of the ballgame before completing the frame. Saenz was replaced by Vince Braman, who would close the door on the Redhawk rally, retiring the only batter he faced The Redhawks were out hit for the third straight game, managing 10 hits to the Gaels’ 14—though this number is markedly better than Saturday’s double header, when they were out hit 10-18 over two games.
Seattle U head coach Donny Harrel spoke to the opportunities his team had to score early, specifically in the first inning when the Redhawks had runners on the corners with two outs but failed to score.
There were other similar opportunities throughout the game, however Seattle U failed to capitalize and wound up stranding a combined ten runners on base.
Gael starter and winning pitcher Jake Valdez went six scoreless innings opposite the Redhawks’ Tarik Skubal who allowed seven runs over four frames, though only three of the runs were earned. Defensive blunders contributed to Skubal’s early departure and the bullpen’s inability to keep the game within reach for the Redhawks, given that they committed four errors in the game. The Gaels didn’t fare much better defensively, committing three errors of their own.
“We have to take care of our pitchers better defensively and get them off the field,” Head Coach Donny Harrel said. “At least we finished the game on a positive note, as the guys continued to battle right to the end. Hopefully that can help us moving forward, but we need to be more consistent in all aspects of the game.”
The Redhawk offensive effort was led by Stober, who went 3-5 with a pair of RBI’s in Sunday’s loss. Newton and Peterson each collected two hits and
scored a pair of runs between them for the Redhawks as well. Five Gaels had multiple hit games, and Kirtley led the offense with a pair of RBIs on the day.
The Redhawks will fly South this week to take on the University of Portland Pilots at Joe Etzel Field. They will then come back for a four game matchup with CSU Northridge Feb. 20-22.