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LMU Top Highlights Of 2017-18 - #8

June 28, 2018

LMU vs. Saint Mary’s Recap – G1 | LMU vs. Saint Mary’s Recap – G2 | LMU vs. Saint Mary’s Recap – G3

Top 10 Highlights – Memories, accomplishments, and moments highlighted Loyola Marymount’s 2017-18 school year. As we prepare for more excitement in 2018-19, we’re counting down the Top 10 Moments of this past year.

Needing to sweep Saint Mary’s at home in the final weekend series of the year to earn a spot in the 2018 West Coast Conference Championship Tournament, LMU came out strong, winning all three games of the set to reach the Tournament for the fourth time in the last five years.

In game one, junior Codie Paiva dealt his second complete-game shutout of the year, and LMU’s bats exploded for seven runs on 12 hits, as the Lions kept their hopes alive for a berth into the WCC Championship Tournament by way of a 7-0 victory. Paiva allowed just three hits and two walks while striking out five en route to going the distance. The right-hander threw 108 pitches to record his second shutout of the year, matching his effort on March 1 at Hawaii. The native of Pearl City, Hawaii managed to string together two separate runs of retiring 10 straight batters, and he faced one over the minimum over his final five frames.

The Lions scored seven runs on 12 hits in support of Paiva in game one. Four of the 12 hits went for extra-bases, as Niko Decolati and Trevin Esquerra homered, and Esquerra and Jamey Smart posted a double. Esquerra finished the game 3-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI, falling a triple short of the cycle. Decolati, hitting out of the leadoff spot in the order, went 2-for-5 with two runs scored and two driven in – connecting for a two-run homer to highlight a four-run bottom of the sixth that handed LMU a 7-0 cushion.

Senior Billy Wilson highlighted a 17-hit effort from LMU’s offense in game two, finishing a perfect 5-for-5 with two runs scored and two triples as LMU posted a 9-4 win to force a winner-take-all game the next day. Wilson began his day in the first inning with the first of two triples. He then added singles in the third, fifth and sixth innings, and capped his night with a triple off the wall in left field in the eighth.

The five hits were a career-high for Wilson, and it was the first five-hit day for LMU since Tommy Cheek had five against San Francisco on April 4, 2014. LMU and Saint Mary’s were knotted at 1-1 headed into the fifth inning, but LMU exploded for five runs on five hits to take a 6-1 lead and run away with the win.

LMU’s senior class celebrated in style in the finale of the series, as Niko Pacheco launched a pair of homers, Smart added one of his own, and LMU eventually walked-off with a 6-5 win over the Gaels in the bottom of the ninth inning on a single from Ryan Ruley to send LMU into the WCC Championship Tournament.

After Saint Mary’s plated the tying run on a sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth, LMU received a one-out single from Brandon Shearer to get things going in the bottom of the ninth. Pacheco followed with a single down the right field line, pushing Shearer to third and setting the table for the potential walk-off. The Lions elected to pinch hit in that spot, summoning Ruley for the opportunity. Ruley came up clutch with a single through the left side on a 1-1 pitch, sending LMU into celebration mode as they dogpiled in shallow centerfield.

As if the walk-off victory was not enough, Dodger Stadium organist Dieter Ruehle was also in attendance making sure the atmosphere at Page Stadium was electric!

While the Lions certainly had to play the game on the field, they had a good luck charm throughout the weekend, as Ron Birdundy flew down to the batting practice cage prior to the first game in the series. With the aid of Smart and the rest of the squad, Birdundy would stay with the Lions through the three-game sweep and eventually find a spot on the bus to Stockton.

LMU Top Highlights Of 2017-18
#10 – Women’s Soccer Sets Goals Record
#9 – Green’s Game Winner

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