Saint Mary's won its first NCAA tournament game in more than 50 years on Thursday when the team defeated the University of Richmond. The 10th-seeded Gaels followed that up with an upset win over Villanova University, a No. 2 seed, on Saturday.
The wins, the college's first postseason victories since 1959, have caused "an outpouring of enthusiasm" on campus, Saint Mary's spokesman Mike McAlpin said.
"This is a territory we haven't been in for quite a long time," he said.
About 100 of what McAlpin called the "die-hard" fans woke up early to gather in front of McKeon Pavilion on campus for a 7 a.m. send-off as the team departed for Houston.
Saint Mary's is also hosting a viewing party at AT&T Park for fans interested in watching Friday's game on the stadium's large, high-definition scoreboard.
The party, funded by some college alumni, is free. Parking will be offered for $5 in Lot A at the stadium.
The college is providing buses for students interested in going to AT&T Park from campus, but McAlpin said the event is open to the general public as well.
"Hopefully all the Bay Area's a St. Mary's fan by now," he said.
The game against third-seeded Baylor is scheduled to tip off at 4:27 p.m. PST on Friday. Doors will open at 3:45 p.m. for the viewing party at AT&T Park.