Gaels Upset Gators: In Baseball, Saint Mary's Defeats No. 4 Florida in Historic Win

The 9–7 victory in Gainesville marks a program best: It’s the first SMC win over a Top-5 Team.

by Griffin Snyder ’25 | March 10, 2024

Saint Mary's Baseball upset No. 4 Florida with a 9–7 win in a back-and-forth game two of the series on Saturday. It's the highest-ranked opponent the Gaels have ever defeated, topping their wins over No. 9 Oregon State in 2007, and over No. 9 Cal State Fullerton in Head Coach Eric Valenzuela's first season at Saint Mary's in 2014. 

Valenzuela, who coached the Gaels until 2019, returned last year to lead the program once again. He’s the most successful coach in Saint Mary’s Baseball history and the only coach to lead the Gaels to the NCAA Tournament.

Back and Forth Battle

Florida scored early on an RBI single in the first inning, bringing in an unearned run on an error. They added three more on a three-run home run in the second inning to make it a 4–0 Gator lead. For the Gaels, Dylan Delvecchio opened with two innings pitched, allowing three earned runs on four hits with three walks and one strikeout.

The Gaels offense got things going in the fourth inning when Nathan Chong and Brian Duroff hit back-to-back solo home runs. Chong kept it going in the fifth with an infield single, but a throwing error cleared the bases and scored three, making it a 5–4 lead in favor of the Gaels. Jared Mettam extended the lead, beating out a double play ground ball and reaching on a fielder's choice that scored Chong, making it a 6–4 lead. 

Florida reclaimed the lead with a solo home run in the bottom of the fifth and a two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth, making it 7–6 advantage for the Gators. 

The Gaels delivered a couple home runs of their own to reclaim the lead once again—with a Coleman Schmidt solo home run and a Duroff two-run go-ahead home run—making it a 9-7 ballgame with Saint Mary's in front in the seventh. 

That was all the offense the Gaels would need. Pitching in relief, Connor Linchey picked up the win and kept the Florida offense contained throughout his outing. He was the only reliever SMC needed, lasting seven innings, allowing three runs on five hits, with one walk and three strikeouts.

UP NEXT: Saint Mary's Baseball plays game three of the series against Florida on Sunday, March 10, at 10 a.m.

READ MORE: This story as it appears at

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