Lions Walk-Off with Series Victory, Take Fourth Game 2-1
Ryan Hawthorne lined the game-winning hit into right centerfield to hand LMU the walk-off victory in the ninth inning.
Feb. 20, 2011
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - LMU (3-1) earned a series victory over UC Riverside (1-3) with a 2-1 walk-off win in the bottom of the ninth inning on Sunday at LMU's Page Stadium. Ryan Hawthorne contributed the game-winner to plate Matt Koch from second base as the Lions took three of the four games against the Highlanders over the weekend. The walk-off win was the first for the Lions this season, and the first since May 1, 2010 when the Lions left Saint Mary's standing in the bottom of the 10th.
Hawthorne, who finished the game 2-for-4 with the RBI and a run scored, also collected two saves as the Lion closer in the series against UCR. Koch, who scored the game-winning run, went 3-for-4 out of the three-spot in the order.
Junior John Lally got the start on Sunday for the Lions, tossing five and a third innings and allowing just one run on six hits and a walk while punching-out two batters. Chris Eusebio dealt the next two and a third frames, including coming out of the pen to erase a bases loaded and one-out jam in the sixth. Matt Florer earned the victory for LMU, pitching a perfect inning and a third of relief with a strikeout to improve to 1-0 this season.
Riverside's Trevor Frank was stellar opposite the Lion pitching, hurling eight innings of one-run ball and allowing just five hits and a walk and striking out 10 batters before not factoring in the decision. UCR's closer, Mitch Patito, took the ball in the ninth inning and did not get through the frame. The right-hander recorded two outs, but allowed the game-winning run on the single by Hawthorne to fall to 0-1.
A pitcher's duel the entire way on Sunday, the Lions broke a scoreless stalemate with a run in the bottom of the fifth, benefitting from out-out singles from Hawthorne and Nick Devian. A wild pitch moved the runners up 90 feet, allowing Zac Fujimoto to trade an out for a run by dribbling a ball down the third base line to plate Hawthorne.
UC Riverside answered right back in the top of the sixth, piecing together three hits to score a run and chase Lally from the game. Eddie Young led things off with a single to right field before a fly out and a walk to Ryan Goetz left runners at first and second with one out. Tony Nix came up clutch for the Highlanders on a 2-2 pitch in the next at bat, lining a base hit back up the middle to tie the game. UCR managed to load the bases on the ensuing play as Justin Shults dribbled a single deep into the hole at shortstop. With the bases loaded and only one out, LMU decided to call to the bullpen to summon Eusebio. The move proved effective as the right-hander induced an inning-ending double play to Shon Roe at shortstop to put a stop to the threat.
With the game knotted at one run apiece and Patito on the hill for UCR in the bottom of the ninth, Koch led things off with a hard hit single through the left side. LMU played small ball by sacrificing the runner to second base before an Alex Guthrie walk put runners at first and second. Patito managed to record the second out via strikeout, but he could not get past Hawthorne. The preseason All-West Coast Conference selection jumped on a 1-1 fastball and delivered it into the right centerfield gap as the Lions stormed the field from the third-base dugout.
LMU will continue action on Tuesday when it travels to Long Beach State for a 6:30 first pitch.
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