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DEMERA, GREIM LEAD DONS IN COMEBACK

Mario DeMera and Brandon Greim lead San Francisco in a comeback against #17 Gonzaga on Saturday. The Dons cameback from being down 8-3 in the 6th due to a 5 run bottom of the 6th inning that was started by Greim hitting his first homer of the year. The Dons tied it up again in the 8th after the Zags took a 10-8 lead thanks to an RBI double from DeMera. Demera was knocked in by Lane Oliphant and the Dons took an 11-10 lead. The Zags tied it up on a homer to left center from Ezra Samperi before DeMera walked it off for the Dons who won 14-11.

The USF Dons faced the #17 Gonzaga Bulldogs on the Hilltop at Max Ulrich Field in San Francisco. The Zags came into the game leading the series after beating San Francisco 11-3 on Friday thanks to an explosive offense and great start from Gabriel Hughes. The Dons came into the game at 16-17, 5-5 in WCC play and 6th in WCC Standings while the 17th in the nation Zags came in at 20-7, 8-2 in WCC play and 1st in the WCC. The Zags' starting pitcher was Sophomore Trystan Vrieling who was 4-1 and had an ERA of 2.66 while the Dons' starter was Graduate Riley Ornido who was 0-1 with a 5.63 ERA. The scouts had come out to see the young right hander pitch for the Zags.

Starting Lineups:




The Zags struck first in the top of the first when Connor Coballes and Tyler Rando both singled before Cade McGee walked to load the bases. Grayson Sterling hit a deep sacrifice fly to Center Field that allowed Coballes to take off for home and score. Shea Kramer flew out to Center Field and the top of the inning ended with a Zags 1-0 lead. The Dons offense exploded in the 1st against Vrieling with Luke Keaschall doubling to Left Field to leadoff the game for the Dons. Harris Williams III came up after him and hit a bomb to Right Field that made it over the high up yellow lining for his 3rd homer of the year and it gave the Dons a 2-1 lead. Vrieling stepped it up and Gabe Giosso flew out to Center Field before Jordan Vujovich struck out on a full count. Mario DeMera then hit a grounder that was fielded and thrown to 1st for the 3rd out.

Ornido retired the side in 4 batters in the 2nd and Vrieling was sent back out to face the Dons. He struck out Greim on a beautiful pitch before Michael Campagna reached on an error. He then struck out Darius Foster and Nick Yovetich on great pitches to retire the side. Ornido was spectacular in the 3rd after the bases were loaded after singles from Coballes and Rando and a bunt for a single from McGee. Sterling flied out to Center Field, but the throw was too powerful for a runner to even think about going. Kramer then hit a grounder that turned into a 6-4-3 double play to end the top half of ther 3rd. Kearschall walked to open the bottom half and stole 2nd before reaching 3rd on a passed ball after Williams III and Giosso both flew out. Vrieling then put on a show and struck out Vujovich to close out the inning.

Gonzaga's offense exploded in the 4th with Jack Machtolf leading off by hitting a single before Samperi was walked on 4 pitches. Freshman Adam Shew was brought in to replace Ornido and he had had a spectacular year. Savier Pinales was then hit by a pitch which loaded the bases for Enzo Apodaca who singled to Right Field, scoring Machtolf and tying the game. Coballes reached on an error that scored Samperi and the Zags took a 3-2 lead. Rando also reached on an error that scored Pinales and Apodaca giving the Zags a 5-2 lead. McGee walked which loaded the bases again. Sterling hit into a double play which scored Coballes and gave the Zags a 4 run lead. Kramer then flew out and Shew ended the top of the 4th. Vrieling had more comfort with the 4 run lead and started dominating. He struck out DeMera and Greim before Campagna flew out and the Zags seemed to start to hit their stride, en route to another win.

Shew pitched excellently in the 5th, striking out Machtolf before Samperi flew out and Pinales was walked but was caught stealing 2nd on a beautiful throw from Campagna. Vrieling pitched well but the Dons still got a run. Foster struck out before Yovetich flew out and Keaschall stepped out. He turned on one and smoked one down the Left Field line for his 5th homer of the season. Williams III singled, but Vrieling struck out Giosso to end the inning. Graduate Jonah Jenkins came in to pitch for the Dons in the 6th. Apodaca hit a single before Coballes flew out. Apodaca stole 2nd and Rando hit a double into the gap, knocking in Apodaca. McGee was hit by a pitch and after a passed off, he and Rando advanced into scoring position. Sterling flew out to deep Center Field which led to Rando scoring and leading to a 5 run Gonzaga lead. Kramer was then struck out by Jenkins to close it out.

Vujovich and DeMera walked to open the inning and most of the Dons saw Vrieling was tiring. Brandon Greim came up and was still looking for his first homer whcih he got. On the 4th pitch of the at bat, Greim turned on one and hit a towering shot to right that was a no doubter off the bat and shortened the deficit to 2 runs. This kicked off a USF run that was continued by Campagna who singled to left. Freshman Zach Freeman was brought in to pinch hit for Foster and the Zags decided to pull Vrieling for Michael Spellacy who gave up a double down the Left Field Line to Freeman before striking out Yovetich. Keaschall was intentionally walked and Williams III was walked unintentionally. Giosso lined out to 3rd and Spellacy walked Vujovich, scoring Freeman, and tying the game. DeMera flew out to end the inning.

Freeman played Right Field to start the 7th and Jenkins struck Machtolf out. Samperi doubled into Right Field and USF brought in Junior Lance Santerre to replace Jenkins as Pinales was coming up. Pinales hit a line drive to Left Center Field that never came down and got over the wall to give the Zags a 2 run lead. Apodaca struck out and Coballes grounded out to end the top of the 7th with USF trailing 10-8. Greim grounded out before Campagna singled and Freeman walked which led to a runner change. Junior Tyler Martinez was brought in to pinch hit for Campagna. Yovetich flew out and with Keaschall coming up, Gonzaga felt like a pitching change was right. The Zags brought in Sophomore Brody Jessee to pitch and he got Keaschall to fly out so it was successful.

Sophomore Lane Oliphant was brought in to catch for Campagna and Martinez, and Rando and McGee were walked. Sterling was then struck out and Kramer grounded into a double play to end the top of the 8th. Williams III singled into Right Field and advanced to 2nd on a passed ball after Giosso flew out. Vujovich walked due to a great eye and it led to Mario DeMera doubling to Right Field, scoring Vujovich and Williams. Brandon Greim came up and influenced another run to take back the lead. He singled to Right Field and put runners on the corners. With that, Greim's spectacular night ended in a standing ovation as Kyle Knell came out to pinch run for him. Seeing Oliphant and Freeman on deck and in the hole, the Zags put in Alec Gomez to pitch. Oliphant layed down a great bunt, scoring DeMera and giving the Dons the 11-10 lead. Freeman flew out and Yovetich grounded out to end the 8th.

Junior Josh Mollerus was brought into close out the game and Stephen Lund was brought in to pinch hit for Machtolf. Lund gounded out and Samperi came up. The whole crowd was on edge as USF was 2 outs away from being .500 once again. Samperi hit a towering drive to Left Center Field that buried itself behind the wall and tied the game up. Pinales singled and Apocada and Coballes flew out to end the top of the 9th with the game tied and the crowd sad. Freshman Logan Johnstone from Los Gatos, near San Jose, came in to play Left Field for the Zags while Gomez stayed in the game to pitch to the Dons and Keaschall singled to Center Field. Williams III struck out and Keaschall stole second, and Giosso struck out. Vujovich was intentionally walked to bring up the birthday boy Mario DeMera. On the 10th pitch of the at bat, a 3-2 pitch, 2 outs, bottom of the 9th, runners on 1st and 2nd, the stuff you dream about when you're young, especially doing it on your birthday, Mario made magic happen. On the 3-2 pitch, Mario hit a drive to left that didn't come down and went over the wall, walking off the game for the Dons. Mario was stripped of his jersey and received a postgame Gatorade shower to celebrate the walkoff and his birthday. A comeback that had been started by Brandon Greim, a Senior from Dublin, California, was ended by the birthday boy from San Mateo who was disrespected by the #17 team in the nation because they IBB'd the runner before him. It shows you no matter how big or talented you are or think you are, never underestimate anyone.

Alec Gomez got his first loss of the season (0-1) while Mollerus got his 4th win of the season (4-0). Gonzaga's Top 3 Offensive Performers were Tyler Rando, Ezra Samperi and Savier Pinales. Rando went 3 for 4 with a walk, 2 RBI and scored a run. Samperi went 2 for 4 with a walk, scored 3 runs and had an RBI on his game tying homer in the 9th. Samperi performed well on defense delivering beautiful throws to 2nd. Pinales went 3 for 3 with 1 walk, 2 runs and 2 RBI that he got when he hit a homer in the 7th.

USF's top Offensive Performers were Luke Keaschall, Harris Williams III, Mario DeMera and Brandon Greim. Keaschall went 3 for 4 with 2 walks, an RBI he got on a solo homer he hit in the 5th and scored 3 runs. Williams went 3 for 5 with a walk, 3 RBI, 2 of them coming from his homer in the 1st and scored 2 runs. DeMera went 2 for 5 with a walk, scored 3 runs and had 5 RBI, 3 of which came on his walk off homer. Greim went 2 for 5, scored 1 run and had 3 RBI that he got on a homer in the 6th that triggered a scoring run. Jordan Vujovich had the best eye for the Dons, going 0 for 2 for USF and had an RBI, was walked 4 times and scored 3 runs. The Zags' best eye was Cade McGee who was 1 for 1 with 3 walks.

Trystan Vrieling pitched 108 pitches over 5 innings for the Zags, giving up 6 hits, 7 runs (all earned) and 3 walks, but struck out 9. Michael Spellacy relieved him and pitched 1.2 innings giving up 2 hits, 1 run (all earned), 4 walks and striking out 1. Brody Jessee pitched 2/3 of an inning giving up 3 hits, 3 runs (all earned) and a walk. Alec Gomez pitched 1.1 innings giving up 3 hits, 3 runs (all earned), a walk and struck out 2. The Zags Pitchers faced 41 batters giving up 14 hits, 14 runs (all earned) and 9 walks, but struck out 12 batters. They threw a total of 211 pitches over 8.2 innings.

Riley Ornido pitched 3 innings giving up 7 hits, 3 runs (all earned), 2 walks, and struck out a batter. Adam Shew pitched 2 innings giving up 1 hit, 3 runs (1 earned), 2 walks, and struck out a batter. Jonah Jenkins pitched 1.1 innings giving up 3 hits, 3 runs (all earned) and struck out 2 batters. Lance Santerre pitched 1.2 innings giving up 1 hit, 1 run (all earned), 2 walks and struck out 2 batters. Josh Mollerus pitched an inning giving up 2 hits and 1 run (all earned). Dons pitchers gave up 14 hits, 11 runs (9 earned), 6 walks and 6 strikeouts after facing 38 batters and pitched 185 pitches.

The Dons jumped to 17-17 while the Zags dropped to 20-8. The game last 3 hours, 47 minutes and 259 people were in attendance.


Team

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2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

R

H

E

Gonzaga

1

0

0

5

0

2

2

0

1

11

14

1

USF

2

0

0

0

1

5

0

3

3

14

14

2





ABOVE: Ezra Simper rounding 3rd Base and jogging home after hitting a homer in the 8th


ABOVE: Brandon Greim hitting a single in the 8th that led to the Dons retaking the lead


ABOVE: Mario DeMera hitting a walk off shot to give the Dons the 14-11 win

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