Errors, Walks, Missed Opportunities Cost Lions
LMU committed six errors, walked nine and left 10 men on base, including the bases loaded three times.
Errors, walks and missed opportunities all played a role in the outcome on Wednesday night as LMU baseball (2-2) committed six errors, walked nine and left 10 men on base, including the bases loaded three times, en route to suffering an 8-4 setback to Tennessee (3-1) from Page Stadium.
LMU used nine total pitchers on Wednesday night, but only three of the nine lasted at least an inning, including starter Codie Paiva who tossed the first 3.0 frames and allowed four runs (one earned) on six hits with two strikeouts before not factoring in the decision. Steven Skolarz was ultimately tagged with the loss after missing with all four pitches he threw in a leadoff walk to Andre Lipcius in the seventh inning, opening the gates for what turned out to be a three-run frame that broke a 4-4 tie.
The Lions fell behind 4-0 after an inning and a half, but rallied for three runs on two hits, including RBI-singles from Nathan Keavy and Spencer Erdman, and three Vol errors in the bottom of the second to cut the lead to one at 4-3.
Freshman Trevin Esquerra took Paiva off the hook for a loss and brought the Lions back to even at four in the fourth innig with his first career home run – a mammoth blast to centerfield on a chilly night that proved tough to drive the ball.
Esquerra had another chance to come up huge in the fifth when LMU pieced together a couple hits and a walk with two out to load the bases and bring the switch hitter to the plate. The heroics weren’t in the cards in that inning for LMU, as Equerra tapped out to first to end the frame and strand the bags full for the first time on Wednesday.
While LMU walked a pair and fired one wild pitch in the three-run seventh for Tennessee, it was a two-out two-RBI double from Jeff Moberg that seemingly provided the dagger in the frame. The senior second baseman dropped a ball just out of the reach of a diving Billy Wilson in centerfield, allowing Reggie Southall and Dom Thornton to score on the play.
Despite allowing Tennessee to break the tie with the three in the seventh, LMU battled tough in the home-half of the frame, loading the bases once again – this time with nobody out. Unfortunately for the Lions, Tennessee had an answer to the problem warming in it’s bullpen, as right-hander Garrett Stallings emerged and struck out the three, four and five hitters in LMU’s order, including Esquerra to close the frame, to strand the bases loaded for the second time Wednesday night.
After adding an insurance run in the top of the ninth on a Justin Ammons RBI-single back up the middle, Tennessee seemingly had the game in the bag headed into the final half frame, but LMU fought to the very end. The Lions got a double from Phil Caulfield before a walk and an infield single from Jamey Smart extended the game and left the bases loaded with two out for Esquerra. Hitting with the bags full for the third time, Esquerra hit a ground ball to second that was handled and flipped to first to end the game and leave them loaded.
Living the highs and lows of baseball, Esquerra finished the contest having collected his first collegiate homer, but also having left nine runners on base.
LMU will return to action on Friday when it opens a four-game series with Washington State at 6 p.m.
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