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USF Falls to St. Mary’s

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SAN FRANCISCO – Senior Matt Lieb homered and San Francisco had the winning run on first base in the bottom of the ninth, but couldn’t come all the way back, as the Dons (29-21) fall to Saint Mary’s 6-5 in non-conference action at Benedetti Diamond on Wednesday afternoon. The Gaels (23-23-1) evened the season series with USF at two games a piece.

Down 6-4 in the bottom of the ninth, USF forged a two out rally, started by Lieb’s pinch hit homerun to right field. Junior third baseman Zach Kim walked and Railey singled to put runners at the corners, but freshman designated hitter Connor Bernatz grounded out to second base to end the threat and the game, 6-5.

Senior second baseman Joey Railey extended his hitting streak to 13 games, the longest for any Don this season. Railey had two hits and an RBI in the contest. The two hits bring him to 230 career base knocks, just six shy of fourth place Arnie Sambel’s (1987-90) 236. Senior first baseman Mitchell Bialosky continued to stay hot at the plate, going 3-for-4 with his 12th double, and two RBI. Kim also had a single in the contest.

SMC jumped to a big 4-0 lead in the first off Dons sophomore right-hander Joe Oropeza. But USF cut the lead in half, 4-2, in the sixth. With two outs, Bernatz and Morgan both walked, setting up Bialosky’s huge two RBI double to left center. The Gaels added another quick run in the seventh, from a double by freshman designated hitter Justin Fazio and an RBI single from junior shortstop Joel Staples.

In the bottom of the frame, the Dons brought within one, 5-4. With runners on first and third, Kim hit an RBI single up the middle. Railey then knocked in a run with a single through the left side. SMC scored a much needed insurance run in the ninth on an RBI single from senior left fielder Brian Hawkins.

Oropeza (0-2) took the loss for USF, allowing four earned runs off three hits and a walk in 0.1 innings. Freshman right-hander Jonathan Abramson had a quality outing, allowing just five hits in 4.2 innings of scoreless relief. Senior right-hander Brian Anderson allowed the Gaels final two earned runs off four hits in 3.0 innings.

Sophomore left-hander Anthony Aliotti (2-2) earned the win for Saint Mary’s, allowing just two earned runs off two hits, three walks, and struck out three Dons in 5.2 innings.

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