The San Francisco Dons have had 11 strenuous games on the road before playing in front of a home crowd at Benedetti Diamond. Anthony Shew led the Dons Past UC Riverside by pitching eight innings of shutout ball. San Francisco took an early lead in the first when sophomore Dominic Miroglio drilled a base hit to center field plating sophomore Nico Giarratano. That was all the offense the Dons would need, as Shew was lights out striking out 10 batters in the 4-0 win.
“He was sharp,” Head Coach Nino Giarratano said of Shew. “Even early in the game, he kind of got squeezed. He throws a complete game shutout if he gets a few pitches either way. We’ve been getting great performances from him.”
UC Riverside evened up the series on Saturday in a fifteen-inning game that lasted four and a half hours resulting in a 6-3 loss for the Dons. USF battled their way into extra innings when Miroglio hit a piping ground ball that skipped under the glove of UC Riverside’s rightfielder, which allowed Derek Atkinson to score all the way from first and push the game into extras.
In the 11th inning, UC Riverside took a 3-2 lead when Connor Hofmann’s throw from right sailed over two cutoff men allowing a run to score.
With their backs to the wall, USF played some small ball. Junior Manny Ramirez Jr. led the inning off with a single and was replaced by pinch runner Blake Valley. Valley advanced to second after a sacrifice bunt and stole third, eventually scoring on a wild throw from UC Riverside’s catcher to tie the game at three.
After three solid innings of relief from redshirt-freshman Sam Granoff, UC Riverside was able to take advantage of some defensive miscues by the Dons and score three in the fifteenth. San Francisco was not able to answer UC Riverside’s three run fifteenth resulting in a wild 6-3 loss in which thirty-seven players were used.
“We’re just trying too hard, trying to do too much. We’re trying not to lose and that’s why we lose,” Giarratano said. “If we play the game at the right speed, they probably don’t score today.”
San Francisco took the rubber match on Sunday behind an impressive offensive effort for the Dons resulting in a 10-1 win at Benedetti Diamond. Freshman Jeider Rincon got his first collegiate win after pitching 6.1 innings. Miroglio led the USF offense with three hits, and three RBI.
“I thought all together it was a pretty good offensive day for us,” San Francisco head coach Nino Giarratano said. “Probably the best game we’ve played where we were able to take the lead, add to the lead, answer back. I’m happy with the performance. We needed to play well.”
It was the first series win for the Dons and a good sign for the start of the WCC. San Francisco takes on Gonzaga this weekend in a three game series in Washington to start off the WCC.
Photo credit: Dons Athletics