UC Irvine Forces Extras, Walks-Off with 3-2 Victory in 11
LMU allowed the tying run in the bottom of the ninth before UC Irvine walked-off with a 3-2 victory in 11 innings.
Feb. 25, 2014
The LMU baseball team (2-6) once again led late only to have an opponent come back to tie and win in the late innings, this time surrendering the tying run to UC Irvine (5-3) in the ninth inning and the winning run in the 11th on a RBI-single from Evan Cassolato to hand the Anteaters a 3-2 walk-off victory on Tuesday at Anteater Ballpark. The extra-inning game was the first played by the Lions, while UC Irvine improves to 1-2 on the year in extras.
UC Irvine pinch-hitter Jonathan Munoz came up with the clutch RBI-single with a runner at third and two out in the bottom of the ninth to send the game to extra innings. Tyler Cohen, serving as LMU's closer, hit Ryan Cooper with one out in the ninth before Cooper stole second and moved to third on a groundout, setting the table for the two-out RBI-single from Munoz.
Kris Paulino got the bottom of the 11th going in the right direction for UCI, shooting a single into right field with one out before moving to third on a hit-and-run single into centerfield off the bat of Cooper. LMU elected to go to the bullpen and summon Carlos Fuentes with runners at the corners and one out, but Fuentes allowed the game-winning single to Cassolato as the Anteaters stormed the field in victory.
Cohen was charged with the loss after allowing three hits and two runs over 2.1 innings. The freshman right-hander, who struck out four, fell to 0-2 with the decision. Junior Brandon Horth got the start for the Lions, allowing just one run over three innings and striking out a career-best five. Senior Bret Dahlson was impressive in relief, tossing a scoreless three innings and striking out three to keep the one-run lead in tact headed to the ninth.
The Lions scored their only runs in the third inning as Cassidy Brown singled to left field to lead off the frame. Trent Hammond followed with his first collegiate hit before David Fletcher sacrificed both runners into scoring position. With runners at second and third and two out, UCI starter Evan Manarino induced a ground ball up the middle that was mishandled by second baseman Mikey Duarte, allowing both runs to score.
LMU suffered some bad luck in the top of the fifth as Donnels came to the plate with the bases loaded and two out. The left-hand hitting outfielder hit a line drive back up the middle that struck Irvine reliever Matt Fielding and rolled out directly to the second baseman who collected the ball and threw out Donnels to prevent what could have been a two-RBI single.
Anteater relievers Kyle Davis and Sam Moore were outstanding, pitching 5.2 perfect innings of relief, including striking out seven straight from the end of the seventh through the ninth. Jimmy Litchfield got credit for the win after retiring Donnels for the final out of the top of the 11th. The decision moved the lefty to 1-0 on the year.
LMU will return to action on Friday when it opens a three-game series with Utah at 6 PM.