Situational Hitting Guides LMU Past UNLV in Opener, 4-3
LMU earned a 4-3 victory over UNLV to open the 2012 season on Friday.
Feb. 17, 2012
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The LMU baseball team (1-0) used situational hitting and solid pitching to record a 4-3 victory in the 2012 season opener against UNLV (0-1) on Friday at LMU's Page Stadium. The Lions scored three of their four runs on RBI-groundouts, and got six solid innings from freshman Colin Welmon in his first start of the year. With the victory, LMU has now won eight of its last 12 games on opening day.
Junior Joey Boney had an outstanding first day in a Lion uniform on Friday, finishing 3-for-4 with two runs scored and a RBI - which came on a double and proved to be the game-winner in the seventh. Junior Matt Lowenstein also got off to a good start, going 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored out of the leadoff spot.
After issuing a leadoff walk, Welmon settled in nicely en route to tossing six innings and allowing just three runs on six hits and one walk while striking out four. The right-hander threw 90 pitches.
Junior Aaron Griffin was stellar in his first appearance for the Lions. Expected to be a huge player both as a starter and reliever this year, Griffin showed his worth in Friday's victory. The right-hander entered a tie game in the seventh inning and proceeded to go three frames, allowing just one hit and striking out five to claim his first victory of the year. The native of El Cajon, Calif. struck out the side in the seventh.
Trevor Kirk led the UNLV offense out of the leadoff spot, going 2-for-3 with a run scored and a walk. Joe Robinson got the start and lasted five and two-thirds innings, allowing three runs on six hits and one walk before turning the ball over to Jesse Garcia. The left-hander went two and a third, surrendering the game-winning run on three hits before taking the loss.
LMU used situational baseball and quality baserunning en route to taking a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Lowenstein got the ball rolling with a double down the left field line before Boney followed with a single and moved to second on the throw to put runners on second and third. Alex Guthrie contributed the first RBI-groundout to third base, as Boney read the throw to first and advanced to third on the play. Nick Devian followed Guthrie's lead, trading an out for a run with a ground ball to shortstop to chase home Boney.
After four scoreless frames, UNLV finally got to Welmon in the sixth, scoring three runs on four hits to take a 3-2 lead. The inning didn't start well for the freshman right-hander, as the Lions were called for a 90-second delay of game. A rule instituted last year, the defensive team has 90 seconds to get from offense to defense and start the inning. The penalty cost Welmon a ball before Danny Higa led things off with a single into centerfield. Kirk followed with a single off the wall in left field to put runners at first and second, setting the table for a RBI-double down the left field line from Scott Dysinger to put the Rebels on the board. UNLV used quality baserunning of its own on the ensuing play as Kirk tagged up on a shallow pop up to left field that was taken by Boney on the back peddle, knotting the tally at two runs apiece. With a runner at second and one out, Brandon Bayardi punched the second double of the inning into left centerfield, bringing home Dysinger and the go-ahead run. Welmon did well to limit the damage from there, striking out the next hitter and inducing a fly ball to centerfield to end the frame.
The UNLV lead did not last long as LMU answered back with a run in the sixth when Boney got things going with a single into left centerfield. Guthrie followed with a hit-by-pitch before Devian sacrificed the runners over to put men on second and third. For the third time in the game, LMU traded a run for an out as Scott Harkin dribbled a ground ball to shortstop to bring home Boney and the tying run.
Boney continued his solid first day on the job as a Lion, connecting on a clutch two-out RBI-double into right centerfield to hand LMU the one-run advantage at 4-3. Nick Truhan recorded a one-out single before stealing second base with two out in the inning. After getting ahead in the count at 2-1, Boney got a fast ball and delivered it into the gap to score Truhan without a throw.
Griffin ran into little trouble the rest of the way, surrendering a lone single over his three innings en route to earning the victory and pushing LMU to 1-0 on the season. The Lions will continue the three-game series with UNLV tomorrow at 1 p.m.