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Saints Spring Upset, Punch Ticket To Title Tilt
There was plenty to celebrate for the Saints as they cruised to a 9-2 victory in Friday night's elimination game. Photo by Ellie Parker.
There was plenty to celebrate for the Saints as they cruised to a 9-2 victory in Friday night's elimination game. Photo by Ellie Parker.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

PORTLAND, Ore. – Saint Martin's may have entered the GNAC Baseball Championships as the No. 4 seed, but this tournament isn't exactly sticking to script.

Now just two wins away from a berth in the NCAA Division II West Regional, the Saints' postseason success continued on Friday night in the form of a 9-2 victory over second-seeded Western Oregon.

Despite only entering the game in the sixth inning, pinch hitter Colton Peha paced SMU offensively. The senior finished the night with two RBI and one run, going 1 for 2 at the plate.

It was seniors Clark Streby and Mickey Walker who led the way on the mound. Streby struck out three while allowing two runs in 6.1 innings of work, while Walker (4-3) earned his second win of the day after striking out three in 1.2 scoreless frames.

The Wolves drew first blood in Friday's game, plating a run in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI single off the bat of Griffey Halle. Saint Martin's would quickly respond, however, using a Cody Chavis double down the left field line to pull even at 1-1.

The two teams entered the eighth even once again, this time at 2-2 before the Saints put a crooked number to punch their ticket to Friday's title tilt. 

Peha drove in the winning runs with a two-RBI double to get the rally started, but his teammates were far from done. Micah McNicoll, Bryant Nakagawa and Ryne Oshiro each brought in at least one run in the frame, and SMU had built an 8-2 advantage by the time the damage was done. 

The club added one more run for good measure in the ninth, putting an exclamation point on a 9-2 win that now has them in the GNAC Championships final.

First baseman Connor McCord led Western Oregon at the plate, going 2 for 4 with an RBI and a run. Senior Gabe Benavides got the start on the mound, striking out six and allowing just one run in 4.2 innings.

With the win, Saint Martin's now advances to Friday's title game against regular-season champion Montana State Billings. Emerging from the loser's bracket to face the 2-0 Yellowjackets, the Saints will need two wins against MSUB to earn the conference's automatic bid into the NCAA Division II West Regional. 

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