Six-Run Second Guides LMU to 8-5 Victory Over Nevada
LMU scored six runs in the second inning en route to taking an 8-5 decision over visiting Nevada.
Feb. 25, 2011
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -
LMU (5-1) scored six runs on Friday in the second inning en route to earning an 8-5 decision over Nevada (0-4) in game one of a three-game series being played over the weekend at Page Stadium.
Hitting out of the leadoff spot, Matt Lowenstein was stellar once again for the Lions, batting 3-for-4 with a pair of runs scored, a stolen base, two RBI and a walk. The left-handed hitting sophomore is now hitting .526 on the year, including .667 over the last five games played. LMU as a team put pressure on the Nevada defense, stealing six bases in the victory. That mark is just one shy of the LMU program record for an individual game. Junior Matt Koch also had a stellar day for LMU at the plate, finishing 2-for-4 with two RBI, a sacrifice fly and a double. Jonathan Johnson scored twice hitting out the second spot in the order, going 1-for-2 with a hit-by-pitch, a sacrifice bunt, a walk and two stolen bases.
Junior Jason Wheeler got the ball on Friday, tossing six and two-thirds innings and allowing three runs on five hits and three walks while striking out six batters en route to earning his first victory of the season. Chris Eusebio was the first of four relievers used on Friday, pitching an inning and a third and allowing two hits while striking out a pair. Freshman Jacob Smigelski recorded the first two outs of the ninth inning, but gave way to Matt Florer and eventually Ryan Hawthorne in a save situation as the Wolf Pack attempted a comeback in the final frame. Despite walking a batter to load the bases in the inning, Hawthorne secured his third save in as many chances by inducing a game-ending ground ball to shortstop.
Anthony Rosa and Garrett Yrigoyen each had a pair of hits for Nevada, with Rosa scoring a run and driving in one. Yrigoyen finished 2-for-4 with a double, a RBI and a walk, while Jamison Rowe made the most of his one hit on the day, connecting on a RBI-triple in the seventh. After lasting just one and a third innings against UC Irvine last Friday, Tom Jameson went only one and two-thirds against the Lions, allowing six runs on six hits and three walks en route to taking his second loss of the year. Jayson McClaren did well in relief for Nevada, pitching four and a third innings and allowing just two runs on four hits with a pair of strikeouts to keep the Wolf Pack relatively close.
LMU jumped out in a big way early, scoring six times in the bottom of the second inning to take a 6-0 lead. Jameson had a tough time finding the strike zone in the frame, issuing a pair of walks on eight straight pitches to start the inning. Nick Devian followed with a RBI-single to put the Lions on the board before a bunt single from Zac Fujimoto loaded the bases. Lowenstein came up with a big hit an out later, lining a two-RBI single back up the middle to run the tally to 3-0. LMU put pressure on the defense on the ensuing play, putting the double-steal into play, resulting in a throwing error charged to catcher Carlos Escobar, Jr. and a fourth Lion run as the ball sailed into left field. After a single from Johnson put runners at the corners, Koch traded an out for a run with his third sacrifice fly of the year to right field to push the Lions ahead 5-0. From there, LMU continued to run on Nevada, as Johnson stole second and moved to third on an Evan Simonitsch single. LMU capped the scoring run with more larceny, as Johnson and Simonitsch teamed on a double-steal of home and second base.
Nevada managed to scratch a run across in the top of the third inning, cutting the deficit to five runs at 6-1. An Escobar, Jr. double off the left field wall started the frame for the Wolf Pack before he came around to score on a RBI-single from Rosa.
The two teams traded a run in the fourth inning, as Nick Melino contributed a leadoff single to centerfield. Wheeler buckled down a bit from there, striking out back-to-back hitters to lessen the pressure, but Nevada would not let the lefty off the hook, plating a run on a Melino stolen base and a RBI-single from Yrigoyen. LMU struck back in the bottom of the inning as Lowenstein singled and came around to score on a Shon Roe RBI-single through the right side to push the LMU advantage to 7-2.
Lowenstein contributed his third hit of the day to start the sixth inning before Johnson grounded a ball to first base to trade places with the runner. With the runner moving on a 2-1 pitch, Koch delivered a double off the left field wall to score Johnson all the way from first base and hand LMU the 8-2 advantage.
Nevada made things very interesting late in the game, scoring once in the seventh on the RBI-triple from Rowe, and twice more in the top of the ninth inning. Smigelski got the first two hitters with ease in the ninth, but the third out was hard to come by for the Lions. Rosa singled to third base before a walk and an error charged to Alex Guthrie allowed one run to score. Brian Barnett contributed a RBI-single on the ensuing play, cutting the Lion lead to just 8-5 with two out. After Hawthorne came in for the save situation and issued a walk to load the bases, the lefty induced a ground ball to Roe at shortstop to end the threat and the game, stranding the three runners that served as the game's tying runs.
LMU and Nevada will continue the three-game series tomorrow at 1 p.m.