USD’s Louie Lechich (holding #21 helmet foreground), comes into the dugout behind Connor Joe’s (holding helmet, upper right, with eyeblack) three run HR in the second inning. Photos: Finkelstein.
SAN DIEGO, CA. – Holy guacamole!
When baseball teams come to San Diego to they are given the royal treatment. Not only is the weather some of the best in the country year-round, but a lot of times it’s a cultural event, too. St. Mary’s College got a taste of both tonight.
The Gaels (14-31, 6-14) matched up with the University of San Diego (31-16, 13-9) at Fowler Park, as the USD Toreros blasted three home runs in the first three innings to take the first of a three game weekend series, 6-2, in West Coast Conference play on Avocado Night.
Every fan in attendance was given a Haas Avocado, but St. Mary’s probably went back to their hotel feeling like the pits.
St. Mary’s went up 1-0 in the first inning but San Diego dug in in the bottom of the second off a 327 foot Kyle Holder solo home run to deep right field with one out to even it up. But the hit parade wasn’t over yet. In classic USD style baseball, with the pressure on in the same inning, two runners on the base paths, two outs and the count at 3-2, Connor Joe (.382) unleashed a 312 foot three run blast to left putting San Diego up, 4-1, a lead it would never relinquish.
USD’s Kyle Holder follows through with his home run swing in the bottom of the second inning.
St. Mary’s Ian McLoughlin produced an RBI single up the middle in the top half of the third to try and counter and brought St. Mary’s to within 4-2, but San Diego starter and eventual winner Lucas Long (4-3) regained control of the game and artistically got three swinging K’s to end the Gaelic threat.
The Torero’s Jesse Jenner wanted a piece of the green gold too, and found it with his solo home run in the bottom of the third, 312 feet into the green pine trees, down the left field line, pushing the Torero’s lead to 5-2. Maybe in a couple of years, there will be an avocado grove in Tecolote Canyon.
St. Mary’s struggled mightily offensively all night long and were lucky to not surrender more than the 12 hits and six runs the Toreros collected. The sloppiness included outfielders pulling up and not catching fly balls, lots of bad throws to first base for digs that allowed USD runners to reach, wild pitches, throwing errors and poor base running. Coming in relief for Long, Max MacNabb picked a runner off first base in the top of the seventh.
USD’s Jessie Jenner (center) is greeted at the dugout by Connor Joe (#6) after a solo home run in the bottom of the third.
San Diego’s Andrew Daniel (.366) went 2-for-5 and almost added two home runs that were tracked down and caught at the fence in identical places. Holder (.315), Jenner (.356), Austin Bailey (.347) and Louis Lechich (.332) all added 2-for-4 performances.
USD TOREROS NOTES: The WCC series continues at Fowler Park at 6 p.m. Saturday night featuring the community “Linda Vista Night,” followed by the Torero’s final WCC home game of the season Sunday at 1 p.m., where fans will receive free USD sunglasses.
USD then hosts UC Irvine in a non-conference matchup at 6 p.m. on May 6 (last home game of the season), followed by away games at Pepperdine (5/9, 5/10, 5/11) and at Long Beach State at 6 p.m. (5/13).
WCC Championship play begins 5/22 in Stockton, CA…USD sophomore Kyle Holder is in contention for the Brooks Wallace Award in recognition for the nation’s top shortstop with a fielding percentage of .984 across 40 games.
Andrew Daniel has now hit successfully in 16 straight games…with the win, USD has won four in a row…attendance was 971 over 2 hours and 51 minutes game time.
Baseball vs. Avocado.