MORAGA, Calif. – St. Mary's hit two grand slams on Friday afternoon en route to a 13-7 victory over Santa Clara baseball in the series-opening game. The Gaels trailed 2-0 after the first inning but took the lead in the third inning and never looked back.
Kevin Milam hit the first grand slam in the bottom of the third inning to give SMC a 5-2 lead. The second grand slam was insurance, as the Gaels led 9-7 in the bottom of the eight before Jackson Thoreson's homer ended the game's scoring.
St. Mary's (35-18, 16-9) starter Johnny York earned the win as he threw 6.2 innings and allowed eight hits and five earned runs. Santa Clara (13-38, 9-16 WCC) starter Grant Nechak was handed the loss, throwing 5.0 innings and allowing eight runs (five earned) with five strikeouts.
Sophomore third baseman John Cresto hit a leadoff home run for the Broncos. His 12 home runs are the most by a Bronco since Tommy Medica's 13 in 2010. Freshman center fielder Andre Nnebe singled, advanced to third base on a single by junior designated hitter Niko Holm then came around to score on a sacrifice fly by junior first baseman Jake Brodt. Holm was also hit by two pitches on the day, bringing his season total up to 15.
St. Mary's pulled a run back in the bottom of the first and cut the SCU lead to 2-1. Joey Fiske doubled then scored after a flyout and a groundout.
The Gaels took the lead on a grand slam by Kevin Milam in the bottom of the third inning to take a 5-2 lead.
SMC added three unearned runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. After an error with two outs, Austin Chauvin hit a two-RBI double to push the lead to 7-2. Chauvin then came around to score on a throwing error.
SCU cut into the lead in the top of the seventh inning when freshman Jake MacNichols was called to pinch hit. The catcher delivered a two-run home run with two outs to cut the lead to four. It was his sixth home run of the season. Holm then doubled to score Cresto from second base. The two-out rally continued as Brodt hit a two-RBI double to score Holm and Nnebe.
St. Mary's then scored five in the bottom of the eighth to push the lead back to six. With the bases loaded, the Gaels scored a run via base on balls and then hit their second grand slam of the game, this time from Jackson Thoreson.
Up Next: Santa Clara and SMC play game two of the series at 1 p.m. PT on Saturday.