Five-Run Sixth Sparks Lion Comeback Victory over Hawai'i, 7-5
LMU scored five runs all with two out in the sixth inning.
March 3, 2011
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -
The LMU baseball team (8-2) scored five runs with two out in the sixth inning en route to earning a 7-5 comeback victory over Hawai'i (3-5) on Thursday to open a four-game series with the Rainbows at Page Stadium. The Lions trailed 5-0 headed into the frame, but rallied to score seven unanswered runs in the win.
Junior Matt Koch finished 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles, a run scored and a RBI to lead LMU offensively. Koch drove in the first Lion run in the fifth inning with a clutch two-out single back up the box. Freshman Bret Dahlson batted 2-for-3 out of the ninth spot in the order, including connecting on the team's first home run of the year in the eighth inning. For his efforts, Dahlson was interviewed after the game and was hit with a shaving cream pie to the face. To check out the video of the interview, please click the link at the top of the page. Junior Evan Simonitsch also had two hits, finishing 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
Lefty Jason Wheeler got the start, and despite surrendering five runs on nine hits and three walks through seven innings, he got the win as the Lions rallied for five in the sixth and one in the seventh to take a lead. The native of Torrance, Calif. finished the game with six strikeouts en route to his second victory. After reliever Chris Eusebio dealt two-thirds of a frame, junior closer Ryan Hawthorne pitched the final inning and a third with two strikeouts to earn his fourth save in as many attempts.
Each of the first four hitters in the Hawai'i lineup had two hits and a run scored, including Jeffrey Van Doornum who went 2-for-3 with a run scored and a walk. Matt Sisto was impressive through five innings, but ran into trouble in the sixth. The right-hander tossed five and two-thirds, allowing five runs (four earned) on seven hits before giving way to the Rainbow bullpen. Blair Walters surrendered what proved to be the game-winning run, allowing the one run on one hit and three walks while striking out two over an inning of work. For Walters, the loss was the first of the season. Zach Gallagher finished the game on the hill for Hawai'i, allowing four hits over an inning and a third, including the home run to Dahlson.
The Rainbows led 5-0 through five innings, scoring two in the fourth and three more in the fifth. After loading the bases in the fourth with nobody out, a groundball to first and a squeeze bunt plated the first two runs of the game, but the damage could have been much worse. An infield single from Sean Montplaisir drove in the first run of the fifth before Hawai'i once again loaded the bases with nobody out. A grounder to shortstop resulted in the first out of the frame, but it came at a cost of a run as the Rainbows extended the lead to 4-0. David Peterson capped the scoring run on the ensuing play, lining a base hit to left field to extend the deficit to five.
LMU punched back in the bottom of the sixth, scoring five runs with two out to knot the tally at five. A one-out single from Matt Lowenstein got the ball rolling before Lowenstein moved to second on a groundout from Jonathan Johnson. Koch came up clutch on the ensuing play, lining a RBI-single into centerfield to put the Lions on the board. The hits kept coming from there, as LMU strung together five straight, including a two-RBI double from Shon Roe and a RBI-double from Alex Guthrie. After a Zac Fujimoto infield single put runners at the corners, Nick Devian hit a ball to the backhand of second baseman Kolten Wong who made an error that allowed the game-tying run to come home for LMU.
LMU utilized heads-up defense to escape danger in the seventh as Van Doornum singled up the middle and moved to second on a passed ball with nobody out. Dahlson, who had a stellar all-around day on Thursday, chased down a foul pop-up down the first base line and alertly fired toward third as Van Doornum tried to tag up. A relay from Roe at shortstop was just enough to cut down the runner at third base, as Guthrie applied the tag to get the Lions out of a potential jam.
The Lions carried the momentum into the offensive side in the home-half of the seventh, as two-out walks to Simonitsch and Roe on eight pitches set the table for a Guthrie RBI-single through the right-side to hand LMU its first lead of the day. Dahlson added the final insurance run in the eighth inning, leading things off with a round-tripper to left centerfield on a first-pitch fastball.
LMU continues the four-game series with Hawai'i tomorrow at 1 p.m.