Lions Squander Late Lead, Fall 5-3 to #11 Oregon
LMU led 3-0 headed into the seventh, but could not hang on to defeat the ranked Ducks.
Feb. 22, 2014
Senior Patrick McGrath turned in a solid start on Saturday against #11 Oregon at Page Stadium, tossing 6.1 innings and leaving with the lead, but LMU (2-4) could not hold on to defeat the Ducks (6-0) as Oregon eventually earned a 5-3 comeback victory.
The Lions led 3-0 headed into the seventh inning as Tyler Cohen delivered a two-RBI triple in the fourth to put the Lions on the board. The triple plated Austin Miller and David Edwards who had walked and singled earlier in the frame. The Lions tacked on one more run in the sixth, benefitting from an RBI-groundout off the bat of Tommy Cheek to bring home David Fletcher who had led off the inning with a single to shortstop.
After throwing six scoreless frames to start the game, McGrath ran into a bit of trouble in the seventh, allowing a leadoff walk and a towering homer off the bat of Kyle Garlick to put the Ducks on the board. Garlick finished the game 3-for-4 with a run scored and two RBI, falling just a triple short of the cycle. The damage could have been worse for the Lions in that seventh, as the next pitch from McGrath after the homer was driven for a triple off the bat of A.J. Balta. Fortunately Bret Dahlson emerged from the LMU bullpen and got out of the jam, preserving LMU's one-run lead after seven.
Oregon got back to even in the eighth, plating a single run on a two-out RBI-single back up the middle from Aaron Payne to bring home Connor Hofmann from second base. Cohen, who allowed the base hit to Payne in the eighth, returned to the hill in the ninth inning, getting a pair of hard-hit lineouts for the first two outs of the final frame. With things seemingly under control for the Lions, Balta once again came up with a big hit for Oregon, singling to get the ball rolling on a two-out rally. Steven Packard contributed a pinch-hit single on the ensuing play, forcing LMU to call on the next reliever from the bullpen. Brandon Horth took the mound and promptly hit pinch-hitter Austin Grebeck to load the bases. Pinch-hitter Mark Karaviotis turned out to be the hero for the Ducks in the next at bat, lacing a two-RBI single into centerfield that proved to be the game-winner.
Oregon right-hander Darrell Hunter got the victory and improved to 2-0 after tossing 1.2 scoreless innings and allowing just two hits. Matt Krook got the start for the Ducks and took a no-decision, surrendering three runs on three hits and one walk while striking out 11. Jake Reed, who started against the Lions last year in a three-game series at Oregon, earned his second save of the year with a scoreless ninth inning of work. Cohen was charged with the loss, falling to 0-1, after allowing two runs on three hits over 1.1 innings.
LMU will look to salvage a game in the three-game series with Oregon tomorrow at 1 p.m. Senior Carlos Fuentes will take the hill for the Lions.