Saint Mary's was down 4-3 heading into the bottom of the eighth inning, staring at the possibility of a seven game losing streak and a 1-7 WCC record. This is a team with talent but after showing signs of combining their considerable talent with the know-how of winning games, they had started to resemble a seriously underachieving team. Well, momentum in baseball is a funny thing. Some will say you are only as good as your next game's starting pitcher and I tend to agree, but some teams just need that moment when they fight back, say enough is enough, and TAKE a win, refuse to lose and get on a roll.
Was Friday's comeback win over Pepperdine that moment for Saint Mary's? I don't know, but I would not be shocked if it is. They have had good pitching for most of the year but two of their most important hitters and two of their most talented players, 3B Patrick Wisdom and OF Brenden Kalfus have scuffled for much of the year, especially Kalfus. Well, on Friday he hit a HUGE 3-run homer in the eighth to put the Gaels up and after being down 4-0 going into the bottom of the 4th, Saint Mary's scored six unanswered runs to steal the victory.
The Kalfus homer is a potentially HUGE moment for this team. Both his season and the team's season quite possibly hung in the balance in the eighth inning when he came up with two runners on, trailing 4-3. Another empty at-bat would have likely sealed another loss and piled on a very disappointing season for Kalfus. However, he came through and just when it might have seemed darkest for him and his teammates, there is now light at the end of that tunnel.
Now the onus is on senior RHP Kyle Barraclough, who starts game three on Saturday. Barraclough has had a good career at Saint Mary's but has not been very good yet this year. He has walked too many hitters and generally speaking, just hasn't been good enough, despite a very nice 2.40 ERA. I dare say he has been just good enough to lose and that is why he is 1-4 on the season. How can he be 1-4 with a 2.40 ERA? Well, 31 walks in 45 innings and allowing six unearned runs are clear indications that he hasn't made good enough pitches when he has really needed to. If he can bounce back and help to lead the Gaels to a W on Saturday, you just might see a talented team go on a hot streak. Stay tuned, things could get very interesting for the Gaels really soon. They just need to catch a Wave on Saturday.