McGrath Bests #13 UCLA Again, Fletcher Backs Strong Start Offensively
SeniorPatrick McGrath tossed seven solid innings to record his second victory over UCLA.
March 4, 2014
Senior Patrick McGrath bested #13 UCLA (7-5) for the second time in as many starts against the Bruins, tossing 7.0 innings and allowing just one run on five hits as LMU (5-7) earned a 6-1 victory on the road on Tuesday at Jackie Robinson Stadium. McGrath beat the Bruins on April 14 of last year, tossing 5.0 innings and surrendering just one run as LMU beat UCLA 4-1 in the final game of a three-game series.
McGrath, who improved to 1-0 on the year, threw 85 pitches en route to the win.
Freshman David Fletcher paced the Lion offense, going 3-for-5 with a run scored and two RBI. Freshman Austin Miller had another solid day out of the leadoff spot, going 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI. The Lions took advantage of scoring when it got the leadoff man aboard, getting the leadoff man on in four innings and scoring in all four, including a pair of runs in the sixth and seventh.
The Lions cracked a scoreless game in the top of the fourth inning, plating a single run on an RBI-groundout off the bat of Tommy Cheek. Fletcher came in to score on the play after leading off the inning with LMU's first hit of the game - a single into left field. After a number of pickoff attempts toward Fletcher, LMU executed a textbook hit-and-run on a 3-2 pitch when Tanner Donnels shot a single through the right side to set the table for Cheek.
LMU got its leadoff man aboard once again in the fifth, and for the second straight inning, it put a run on the board to take a 2-0 lead. Ted Boeke reached to start the inning by way of a hit-by-pitch before a sacrifice bunt and a single from Miller pushed runners to the corners. Fletcher picked up his second hit of the game on the ensuing play, punching a single into right field to extend the Lion lead. The inning had tremendous potential as LMU eventually loaded the bases with one out, but UCLA reliever Scott Burke induced an inning-ending double play to limit the damage.
While the Lion offense was busy scoring a few runs in the middle innings, McGrath was busy turning in shutdown innings against the Bruins, retiring eight straight from the final two outs in the third through the end of the fifth.
Leading 2-0 headed into the seventh, LMU put its leadoff man aboard for a third time, this time resulting in a pair of runs. Boeke once again got the fun started by reaching with a single, forcing UCLA to call to its bullpen and summon Max Schuh. The left-hander got an out on a sacrifice bunt before he hit Miller to put two men on with one out. Fletcher added to his stellar performance on the ensuing play, lining an RBI-single over the shortstop and into left-centerfield to make it 3-0. Donnels followed with a beautiful safety squeeze on the very next play, driving in the speedy Miller from third and handing LMU the 4-0 lead.
The Bruins finally managed to push a run across in the seventh, benefitting from a leadoff double off the bat of Luke Persico. A ground ball to the right side moved Persico to third before Justin Hazard lifted a sacrifice fly to left field to cut the deficit to three at 4-1.
Refusing to surrender any momentum in the game, LMU punched right back in the top of the eighth, reclaiming the four-run cushion on a second safety squeeze. This time it was Boeke with the bunt to bring home David Edwards from third base. The Lion second baseman had reached on a hit-by-pitch to lead off the inning.
Senior Bret Dahlson took over for the Lions after the strong start from McGrath, tossing the final 2.0 innings to seal the Lion victory over the ranked-Bruins. LMU will return to action tomorrow when it hosts Cal State Northridge at 6 PM.
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