Dahlson's Arm, Bat Guide LMU Past UNLV in Finale, 6-2
Sophomore Bret Dahlson recorded three RBI and earned his first save in the victory.
Feb. 19, 2012
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Sophomore Bret Dahlson contributed an all-around stellar day on Sunday, finishing 2-for-4 with three RBI while also recording his first collegiate save as the Lions (2-1) defeated UNLV (1-2), 6-2, to earn a series victory over the course of opening weekend.
Dahlson entered the game with the bases loaded and two out in the eighth inning, escaping the inherited jam, before contributing a two-RBI single in the bottom of the eighth to provide added run support headed into the ninth. In all, Dahlson plated the final three Lion runs of the game.
Perhaps overshadowed by the heroics of the sophomore, senior John Lally pitched five strong innings in the start for LMU. The left-hander allowed just one run on six hits and did not walk a batter, leaving with a 2-1 lead en route to claiming the victory. Junior Aaron Griffin, who earned the victory on Friday, tossed two scoreless frames and struck out two before giving way to Ryan Hawthorne in the eighth. The NCBWA Stopper of the Year nominee recorded a pair of outs in the inning, but handed the ball over to Dahlson with the bags full after walking a pair of hitters to force in a run.
Offensively, Joey Boney continued his hot start as a Lion, batting 3-for-4 with a pair of runs scored and a stolen base out of the second spot in the order. The native of Anaheim Hills, Calif. is now batting .500 with five runs scored and two stolen bases to start the season.
While three Rebel hitters managed a pair of hits, Danny Higa drove in the lone runs of the game for UNLV. The nine-hole hitter laced a RBI-single in the second and drew the bases-loaded walk against Hawthorne in the eighth. Right-hander Buddy Borden got off to a good start on Sunday, allowing just one baserunner over the first three innings, but he ran into trouble in the fourth when LMU plated a pair of runs. Borden ended his day having thrown 5.2 innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on four hits and four walks while striking out seven. The outing resulted in his first loss of the season. Brady Zuniga carried the ball on the mound the rest of the way for UNLV, allowing two runs on five hits over 2.1 innings of work.
For the second time in as many days, UNLV struck first on Sunday, plating a run on three hits in the second inning to take a 1-0 advantage into the bottom of the second. Mark Shannon got the rally going, singling into right centerfield with one out. After a line-out to right centerfield, Scott Tomassetti got jammed but delivered a base hit to right field to leave runners at the corners with two down. After getting two strikes on Higa in the next at bat, Lally didn't get a borderline pitch as the count eventually reached 2-2. Higa got the best of the extended time at the plate, lining a RBI-single into left field to put the Rebels on the board. The senior left-hander managed to strand the runners on the ensuing play, inducing a ground ball to shortstop to cap the half inning.
Having recorded just one hit over its previous 12 innings in the series, LMU doubled that output en route to a pair of runs in the fourth to take a 2-1 lead after four. Boney got things started with a single through the left side before Cullen Mahoney found the hole on the right side to put runners at the corners with nobody out. As it did throughout the series, LMU traded runs for outs, benefitting from a RBI-groundout off the bat of Alex Guthrie before a passed ball and a Scott Harkin sacrifice fly to right centerfield brought home the go-ahead run.
LMU plated two more runs in the sixth inning to push the tally to 4-1 in favor of the Lions. Boney once again got the inning going with a bunt single up the first base line. A pair of wild pitches and a walk left runners at the corners before a bizarre play once again resulted in a Lion run at the cost of an out. Guthrie lifted a shallow fly ball to right field that fell behind the first baseman, but Mahoney was hung out between first and second on the play, and was promptly forced out at second base. Fortunately for LMU, Boney scampered home with LMU's third run. Guthrie followed by being picked off of first base, but LMU managed to mount a two-out rally. Harkin drew a walk before pinch-hitter Tanner Donnels connected on his first collegiate hit in his first at bat of the year to put runners at first and second. After LMU elected to pinch-run for Harkin with Nick Truhan, Dahlson came up clutch with a RBI-single into left field to chase home Truhan and cap the scoring run.
The Rebels threatened in a big way in the eighth, including scoring one run to cut the deficit to 4-2. A one-out single off of Hawthorne by T.J. White kick-started the offense, as Shannon followed with a single into left centerfield on a 0-2 pitch. Hawthorne struck out the next batter for out number two, but proceeded to walk the next two hitters to force in a run. With the sacks full in a two-run game, Jason Gill and his staff went to their closer, Dahlson. The right-hander won a great battle with Trevor Kirk, pitching to a 3-2 count before inducing an inning-ending ground ball to second base to thwart the threat.
Dahlson came up big again in the bottom of the eighth, contributing a two-RBI single to hand LMU a 6-2 lead headed into the ninth. Guthrie recorded his first hit of the year to open the frame before Truhan singled to left field in his only at bat of the game to put runners at first and second. After Roe grounded softly back to the mound to advance the runners, Dahlson hit a chopper through the left side to chase home both Lion runs.
The right-handed closer had no trouble with the UNLV 2-3-4 hitters in the ninth, putting them down in order to earn his first save of the year and cap a stellar all-around performance.
The Lions will return to action on Friday when they open a four-game series with Cal Poly at home.