Lions Swept in Heartbreaking Fashion
LMU surrendered a run in the ninth inning en route to being swept by #11 Oregon on Sunday.
Feb. 23, 2014
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The LMU baseball program (2-5) dropped a heartbreaker on Sunday at the hands of #11 Oregon (7-0), allowing a run in the top of the ninth and eventually falling by a score of 4-3 in front of a jam-packed crowd of 857 at LMU's Page Stadium. While pinch-hitter J.B. Bryant drove in the game-winning run on a sacrifice fly in the ninth, it was Tyler Baumgartner who had the game's biggest play. The Oregon right fielder provided a game-saving diving catch in the bottom of the eighth, stretching out to rob Tanner Donnels of extra bases and a go-ahead RBI that would have handed LMU a 4-3 advantage headed to the ninth.
The Ducks finished the game with three multi-hit performers, including a pair of hits from Aaron Payne, Mitchell Tolman and A.J. Balta. Tolman capped a three-run third inning for the Ducks with his first homer of the year. The Lions got in trouble early in that inning as Oregon loaded the bases with nobody out. LMU gladly traded a double-play ball for a run on the ensuing play, but Oregon was not content with just the one run. Scott Heineman, who went to third on the double-play ball, was called safe on a bang-bang play on an attempted steal of home, handing Oregon the 2-0 lead. Riding the momentum, Tolman unloaded on the very next pitch, depositing the ball over the wall in right centerfield for a home run.
LMU managed to tie the game in the fifth by way of a three-run inning of its own. Kevin Garcia led things off with a single before moving to second on a sacrifice bunt from Ted Boeke. Freshman David Fletcher contributed the RBI-single on the ensuing play before coming around to score on an RBI-triple from Austin Miller. For Miller, the triple was his second of the year. David Edwards got the Lions back to even in the very next at bat, grounding a ball to shortstop to bring home Miller.
With the game tied, Baumgartner's catch pushed all the momentum into the visitor dugout headed into the ninth as Austin Grebeck contributed a pinch-hit double and moved to third on an error charged to Miller in centerfield as he tried to get the ball back into the infield. The eventual game-winning run came in to score on the very next play as Bret Dahlson took over for Sean Buckle and surrendered the sacrifice fly to Bryant.
Buckle, who tossed 4.0 inning on Sunday, was charged with the loss and fell to 0-2 after allowing the one run on four hits and two walks while striking out four. LMU was forced to go to the bullpen early in the series finale, getting 3.0 innings from senior Carlos Fuentes to start the game. Fuentes surrendered three runs on five hits before freshman J.D. Busfield tossed a scoreless fourth inning.
Garrett Cleavinger was credited with the victory after tossing a scoreless eighth inning and handing the ball over to Oregon closer, Jake Reed. Cleavinger improved to 2-0 while Reed recorded his third save by way of a perfect ninth inning.
LMU will return to action on Tuesday when it travels to UC Irvine for a game at 6:30 p.m.