Lions Walk-Off with 12-11 Victory in Epic 13-Inning Marathon
Tanner Donnels went 6-for-6 with the game-winning RBI in the bottom of the 13th.
March 6, 2014
Junior Tanner Donnels went 6-for-6, including collecting the game-tying RBI single in the bottom of the 11th and the game-winner in the bottom of the 13th, as LMU (6-7) walked-off with a 12-11 victory over Cal State Northridge (6-7) in an epic marathon game that lasted five hours and 40 minutes at Page Stadium on Wednesday. LMU as a team posted 24 hits, the most since collecting 24 against Saint Mary's on April 12, 2008. The walk-off victory was the first for the Lions since May 20, 2012 when they walked off on Pepperdine with a 4-3 victory.
Donnels' six-hit game matched the LMU single-game record set by Travis Tarchione on April 15, 1987 against UNLV. The Coto de Caza, Calif. native posted two runs scored, a walk, a hit-by-pitch and two RBI. His biggest hit came with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 13th when he shot a single to first base that brought home David Fletcher and the game-winning run. Fletcher, who went 2-for-8 out of the leadoff spot, had led off the inning with a double down the right field line. The eight at bats are the most for a Lion since Billy Lockin recorded eight on March 24, 2002 against San Francisco.
Senior Tommy Cheek also had a stellar day at the plate, finishing 5-for-6 with two runs scored and an RBI. Outside of Donnels' six-hit game, Cheek's five-hit night was the most hits by a Lion player since Ryan Hawthorne had five hits at Portland on April 18, 2010.
LMU used seven pitchers on Wednesday, including starter Mitch Russell who went 3.1 innings and allowed two runs (one earned) in his first career start. The Lions committed seven errors defensively, resulting in eight unearned runs. Brenton Arriaga, who tossed the final 2.0 scoreless innings, earned his first career victory. Kenny Rosenberg, the seventh of eight Matador pitchers used on the night, took the loss after allowing one run on a hit and a walk, falling to 0-1. Kyle Ferramola was on the mound when the game ended, surrendering a walk and the hit to Donnels.
Cal State Northridge got on the board first with a pair of runs in the second, but LMU responded well with a run in the second and two more in the third to claim a 3-2 lead after three complete. The Matadors managed to load the bases with one out before Russell walked in the first run on a 3-2 pitch to Ryan Raslowsky. LMU eventually got out of the jam on the ensuing play, but it cost them a run when Russell fielded his position and fired home to try to start an inning-ending 1-2-3 double play. The first out was recorded, but Cassidy Brown's turn to first was low and skipped into right field, allowing a run to come home. Fortunately for LMU, the ball was relayed back into the infield where Raslowsky was thrown out turning third base.
Junior Chris Barnett got the Lion second going with a single into centerfield before posting his first career stolen base. That 90 feet proved big for LMU as Brown reached on an error charged to Brett Balkan at shortstop that allowed Barnett to turn third and score. LMU took the lead in the bottom of the third after loading the bases with nobody out. Austin Miller and Cheek each reached with singles to start the frame before Donnels was hit by a pitch to load the bags. CSUN gladly traded a run for two out on the ensuing play, inducing a double play ball that left a runner at third with two down. Barnett came up clutch on the very next play, driving in the two-out run with a single back up the middle to hand LMU the lead.
Cal State Northridge took advantage of an error charged to the normally-sure-handed Fletcher in the fifth inning, evening the tally at 3-3. Raslowsky reached on the error to start the inning before moving to third on a stolen base and a passed ball. Balkan drove in the run on the very next play, grounding a pitch to Fletcher at shortstop for the productive out.
After CSUN put two more runs on the board in the top of the sixth on a sacrifice fly and an error charged to David Edwards at second base, LMU responded for four runs in the bottom of the inning to take a 7-5 lead. The Lions posted four straight singles, including an RBI-single off the bat of Edwards with the bases loaded, to score the first run. Barnett drove in his second run of the game with a ground ball to third before Ted Boeke put a sacrifice bunt down the first base line to bring hom e the third run of the inning and reclaim the LMU lead. Pinch-hitter Cole Trezek, batting for Brown, completed the scoring run with a single through the right side to plate Barnett.
The wild seesaw battle continued into the seventh as Northridge pushed five runs of their own across to take a 10-7 lead. The Matadors loaded the bases with nobody out by way of a walk, a single and an errant throw on a sacrifice bunt off the bat of William Colantono. After Carlos Fuentes relieved Brandon Horth and struck out pinch-hitter Alexis Mercado for the first out, pinch-hitter Michael Livingston drew a walk to force in a run. A wild pitch moved all three runners up 90 feet, including one runner to come into score. Nicolas Osuna delivered the big blow two hitters later, shooting a two-RBI single into centerfield to bring home Colantono and Livingston. Osuna took second on the throw to the plate, and showed tremendous hustle in scoring on the ensuing play, turning third and coming home on an infield single to shortstop.
Keeping with the trend of the game, LMU managed to claw its way back to even at 10-10 with two runs in the eighth and one more in the ninth. LMU loaded the bases once again in the eighth before Shay Maltese hit Kevin Garcia to force in a run. Pinch-hitter Jimmy Jack drove in the second run of the eighth with a sacrifice fly, cutting the deficit to one headed to the bottom of the ninth. With their back to the wall, LMU managed to push the tying run across when Fletcher singled and scored on a double off the wall from Cheek to send the game to extra innings.
Adding to the epic game, both teams pushed a run across in the 11th. A leadoff walk to Balkan resulted in a run for Northridge, as he moved to second on a sacrifice bunt before coming around to score on a Nick Blaser single back up the middle. Down to its last strike and refusing to surrender, LMU found new life off the bat of senior Brice Savage. The native of El Segundo, Calif. tripled to left centerfield on a 3-2 pitch to keep the Lion faithful on the edge of their seats. After working the count full in the next at bat, Donnels came up with the game-tying base hit, shooting a 3-2 pitch to second base for a single to bring home the run and once again tie the game at 11, setting the table for his own heroics two innings later.
LMU will return to action on Friday when it opens a three-game series with Northern Kentucky at 6 PM.