In a sport that does not feature a game clock, LMU baseball (1-6) may have run out of time on Sunday afternoon as they attempted to come from behind to defeat Oregon (4-2) at LMU's Page Stadium. The Lions scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth to cut a five-run deficit to 9-7, but the game was called due to curfew after eight innings.
The two sides agreed to not start a new inning after 4:45 p.m., and the Lions were busy putting together the rally in the eighth as the clock moved past the deadline. Ryne Nelson, who took over on the mound and walked in the final Lion run of the game, eventually struck out Jamey Smart and Trevin Esquerra to seal the victory and strand the bases loaded.
LMU'S BULLPEN STRUGGLES: Freshman Matt Voelker got the start and tossed 5.0 scoreless innings, working around four hits, two walks and two hit batters while striking out three to exit in line for the win. Unfortunately, LMU handed the ball over to five relievers on Sunday, as the bullpen combined to allow nine runs on just six hits, seven walks and two hit batters.
THE TURNING POINT: The Lions led 4-0 headed to the sixth inning, but Oregon scored four runs on three hits, three walks and a hit batter to tie the game and steal the momentum. Two of the walks and the hit-by-pitch came with the bases loaded, forcing in crucial runs.
THE DECISIONS: Sean Paquet was the third pitcher to be used in the four-run sixth inning, as the hurler did well to limit the damage to just one run after inheriting the bases loaded and nobody out. The lefty ran into trouble of his own in the seventh, allowing a one-out single and two walks to load the bases. After handing the ball over to Keefer Meehan out of the LMU bullpen, Paquet saw all three runners come around to score, including the go-ahead run on another bases-loaded hit-by-pitch. When the dust settled, Paquet was saddled with the loss, falling to 0-1 on the year. Parker Kelly earned the win for Oregon, moving to 3-0 on the season after throwing a scoreless sixth inning to keep the game tied at 4-4. Although it did not look like a save would be issued, LMU's rally in the eighth forced Nelson into a save situation, which he converted for his first of the year in his first appearance of the season.
OFFENSIVE LION OF THE GAME: Billy Wilson went 2-for-4 with a double, a run scored and one RBI hitting of the leadoff spot in the order. The native of Tolleson, Ariz. also stole a base, moving him to a perfect 3-for-3 in stolen base attempts.
LION NOTES: Niko Decolati began the year 0-for-7, but is 8 for his last 20 with two doubles, four runs scored and a homer ... Wilson has hit safely in all seven games this year ... LMU stole three bases on Sunday, but was caught for the first time this year as well ... LMU is now 12-for-13 in stolen bases, and started the year 11-for-11 ... Brandon Shearer began the year 0-for-21, but got hits in his final two at bats of the game, snapping the skid with a single leading off the sixth inning.
BOX SCORE NOTES: In addition to recording the save, Nelson also went 3-for-4 with two runs scored for the Ducks ... the two teams combined for 16 runs on 19 hits, but only two went for extra-bases - doubles from Wilson and Shearer ... the first 15 hits of the game were singles ... a total of 21 free passes were issued, including 14 walks and seven hit batters ... LMU issued a season-high nine walks and four hit-by-pitches ... the Lions stranded 10 runners on base, while Oregon left 12 as the teams combined to strand 22 runners.
ON DECK: LMU will return to action on Tuesday when it meets another Pac-12 foe in USC at 6 p.m. from USC's Dedeaux Field. Live links to follow the action can be found at LMULions.com.
PURCHASE YOUR TICKETS: LMU still has 23 home games remaining to be played at Page Stadium. New ticket plans start at $50 for a General Admission season ticket, while Reserved season tickets can be purchased for $99. Members of LMU's Little Lions Club also get into all LMU home baseball games as part of the membership, while students, faculty and staff with a valid One Card also receive free General Admission access to every home game. Reserved season tickets behind home plate include a nameplate on your chair identifying your seat(s). Fans can also package a mini plan to include any five home games this year, with prices starting at $30. To purchase season tickets, mini plans or single-game tickets, please contact the LMU Box Office at 310-338-5466 or visit LMULions.com/tickets.
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