Lions Even Series with 7-4 Victory in Game One of Double-Dip
LMU collected seven runs on 10 hits in the first game of the doubleheader.
March 16, 2012
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The LMU baseball team (6-9) scored seven runs on a season-high tying 10 hits en route to earning a 7-4 victory over Indiana (6-12) in the first game of a doubleheader on Friday at LMU's Page Stadium. With the victory, LMU evened the weekend series at a game apiece.
The LMU bats came alive in the game, as Colton Plaia went 3-for-3 with two runs scored and a RBI out of the eight spot in the order. Plaia also picked off a runner and threw out two potential base stealers. Equally impressive, second baseman Cullen Mahoney went 2-for-4 with a run scored and his first home run of the year.
Freshman Trevor Megill went six innings, allowing four runs (two earned) on five hits, two walks and four hit batsmen. The right-hander struck out four en route to claiming his first victory of the year and improving to 1-4. Senior Ryan Hawthorne shut the door on the Indiana offense, tossing the final three scoreless innings and allowing just three hits to claim his second save of the year.
Dillon Dooney went 3-for-3 with a RBI for Indiana, while Sam Travis also contributed a 2-for-4 day with a run scored and a RBI. Left-hander Drew Leininger went five innings and allowed seven runs (four earned) on nine hits and one walk with four strikeouts before falling to 2-2 with the loss. Brian Korte was impressive in relief, tossing three scoreless frames and limiting LMU to one hit while striking out three.
Megill got himself in trouble in the first inning, hitting a pair of batters and walking one, en route to allowing two runs and falling behind by a count of 2-0. A hit-by-pitch and a walk put two men aboard with nobody out, but Plaia managed to pick Dustin DeMuth off of first for the first out. After working the count full, Megill hit his second batter of the inning to once again put runners at first and second. A passed ball charged to Plaia allowed the runners to move up 90 feet before Indiana traded an out for a run on a RBI-groundout from Kyle Schwarber. Travis followed with the first hit of the game, a single through the left side to bring home the second Hoosier run of the frame. Dooney managed to make it two straight hits for Indiana on the ensuing play, but Megill escaped further damage by inducing a ground ball to second base to strand a pair of runners.
The Lions punched back in the home-half of the first inning, benefitting from a costly error charged to shortstop Michael Basil to allow the game-tying run to plate. Matt Lowenstein got things going in the right direction with a single back up the middle before moving to third on a bunt single down the third base line from Shon Roe. Lowenstein used a bit of heads-up baserunning on the play, seeing that no one was covering third on the bunt and taking the extra 90 feet. Leininger avoided immediate damage by getting Mahoney to ground back to the mound, but Scott Harkin came up with a run-scoring single into right field that also resulted in an out when Roe tried to score from second base and was thrown out by a strong throw from Will Nolden. LMU did manage to plate that tying run two batters later when Basil fielded an Alex Guthrie ground ball cleanly, but could not make the throw across the diamond, allowing Harkin to score the unearned run.
LMU took its first lead of the series in the second inning, pushing a third run across on a beautiful drag bunt from Mahoney. Plaia reached with a hit-by-pitch to open the inning before stealing second base two outs later for his first theft of the year. Roe followed with an infield single when he sent a ground ball off the glove of a diving DeMuth at third base to put runners at the corners. Mahoney surprised everyone on the ensuing play, dropping a bunt down the line at third to bring home Plaia and the go-ahead run.
After taking an inning breather in the third, LMU was back to business in the fourth, plating three more runs, including a two-run home run from Mahoney, to earn a 6-2 lead after four. For the third time in four innings, LMU got its leadoff man on when Plaia singled back up the middle and moved to second on a wild pitch. Tanner Donnels got his cake and ate it too when he put a sacrifice bunt down and reached on a throwing error from Leininger that left runners at first and third. Lowenstein took advantage of the opportunity, lifting a fly ball to centerfield for a sacrifice fly that brought home Plaia. Mahoney capped the frame two batters later, belting a first-pitch breaking ball over the wall in right field for his first home run of the year.
LMU extended the lead to 7-2 in the fifth, but the damage could have been worse for Indiana. A day after pitching a complete game for the Hoosiers, Joey DeNato took a potential home run away from Raubinger to open the inning, crashing into the wall in left centerfield for the first out. After working the count full in the next at bat, Guthrie split the gap in right centerfield for a double, setting the table for a two-out RBI-single back up the middle from Plaia - his second hit on the day.
LMU's Raubinger committed a costly error at first base in the sixth that resulted in a pair of unearned runs and cut the deficit to 7-4 in favor of LMU. Schwarber cued a ball off the end of his bat toward third base with one out, but reached on the play when Raubinger muffed the throw from Guthrie. Travis doubled to right centerfield on the ensuing play, sending Schwarber racing into third with only one out. Dooney drove in the first run with a sacrifice fly to left field before Nolden plated Travis with a single as Travis ran through the stop sign at third two batters later. Megill did well to stop the bleeding, stranding a pair of Indiana runners in scoring position by inducing a pop fly to right field that was handled by Mahoney on the run.
Hawthorne did his job over the final three innings, shutting the door on Indiana while allowing just three hits and striking out four to earn his second save of the year.
LMU and Indiana will play the second game of the doubleheader starting at 3 p.m. today.