March 15, 2002
Los Angeles, CA (March 15, 2002)-- Taking out more than three weeks of offensive frustration, the Loyola Marymount University (LMU) baseball team exploded to a seven-run first inning to take a 12-5 win against the University of Portland in the West Coast Conference opener for both teams on Friday afternoon.
Scoring more than six runs just once since Feb. 19, the Lions' (7-15, 1-0) offense knocked in seven on six hits in the first inning alone against the Pilots (6-9, 0-1). The early runs allowed starter Kyle Huddy plenty of breathing room as he was solid in earning the win. He went six innings and allowed four earned runs on eight hits to improve to 2-1 on the season. The Lions' scored 11 runs on 12 hits against Pilot's starter Steve Chamberlain, who falls to 1-1 on the season.
The Pilots would actually score first when Kory Casto and Matt Allen hit back-to-back two-out doubles to post a quick 1-0 lead on the Lions. However, they would strike back quickly. With one out, freshman Joe Frazee hit a double to left-center field and senior Kris Zacuto continued his hot hitting with his third home run of the season, and his 23rd of his career to move into a tie for 10th all-time at LMU. The two-run blast scored Frazee to give the Lions the lead for good.
The Lions would send 11 batters to the plate in the inning with senior Tommy Perez, sophomore Jonathan Higashi and freshman Jonathan Oller getting singles to push the lead. Sophomore Billy Lockin, who started the inning with a fly out to leftfield, hit a double to the left side that scored two runs. The Lions also had a double steal in the inning as Perez stole home and Higashi stole second to force the action.
Once the dust settled the Lions had a 7-1 lead. They would add a pair in the bottom of the second when Zacuto and Whitesell had back-to-back doubles. Zacuto scored on Whitesell's double and then he scored on freshman Christian Campos' sacrifice fly. In the inning Higashi added a double.
Zacuto would finish 3-for-4 with two doubles and the home run. He moves his career double total to 53, two shy of fourth all-time on the LMU doubles list. In the game, LMU had four doubles, tied for the most in a game this season. The 12 runs was the second most this season (the Lions had 17 against Cal Poly on Feb. 17).
The Lions would add another pair in the fifth inning to stretch the lead to 11-1. They would get the runs when Lockin's single scored Oller, who singled, and freshman Sean Smith, who walked, scored on Zacuto's ground ball.
Portland would finally get another run in the sixth Casto, who was 4-for-5 on the day, scored on Matt Hollod's single. They would finally get to Huddy in the seventh inning when Cory Lunde hit his first home run of the season to score both Trevor Hahn and Eric Hull. Lions' reliever David Barba would enter the game and get the next three hitters, including two strikeouts to end the threat. Barba would allow just one hit over three innings to earn the save, the first of his career.
LMU would get a run back in the bottom of the seventh when Whitesell walked with the bases loaded to score Lockin.
Both teams will play game two of the series on Saturday at 1 p.m.