After the celebration had ended, Joey Railey jokingly referred to Mitchell Bialosky as”The Blur.” And considering the speed display the lumbering first baseman put on in Friday’s Game 1 of the West Coast Conference Championship Series against Pepperdine, who could blame him?
The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Bialosky beat out an infield single with a headfirst dive to lead off the bottom of the eighth inning and later scored from second on Railey’s two-out single to center. The throw from the outfield had Bialosky beat by 15 feet, but Pepperdine catcher Chad Tracy couldn’t hold onto the ball, providing the winning margin in the Dons’ 7-6 win.
Game 2 is today at noon, also at Benedetti Diamond, with the Dons (38-18) one win away from guaranteeing an NCAA bid. If Pepperdine (38-19) wins, a decisive Game 3 will be Sunday at 1 p.m.
“I couldn’t believe I beat out that single,” Bialosky said. “And Joey hit his ball so hard; I knew it would be close at home. I saw the ball coming and when it bounced away, I
couldn’t have been happier.”
Burly right fielder Stefan Gartrell preserved the win when, with a runner on third and two outs in the top of the ninth, the Sacred Heart Cathedral graduate made a diving catch at the foul line to end it.
“My heart stopped for a second,” Railey said. “It was an unbelievable feeling to see Stefan hold up the ball. There are no words.”
Gartrell’s catch made a winner out of Patrick McGuigan (12-2), who pitched 1¹/³ scoreless innings in relief of Scott Cousins. It was his 22nd career win, tying him for the most in USF history.
USF 7, Pepperdine 6
Pepperdine 040 000 110 — 6 11 1
USF 010 004 11x — 7 10 0
Barry Enright, Bryan Minkel (7), Brett Hunter (7) and Chad Tracy; Scott Cousins, Patrick McGuigan (8) and Jonathan Norfolk. W—McGuigan (12-2). L—Hunter (5-2).
Leading hitters: Danny Worth (P) 3×5, Tracy 3×5, Chase d’Arnaud2x3, Joey Railey (USF) 2×4, Mitchell Bialosky (USF) 2×4, Lucas Delong (USF) 2×4. HRs: Tracy, Luke Sommer (USF).