March 19, 2011
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -
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The LMU baseball team (13-8) lost the rubber-game of a three-game series to UC Irvine (14-2) by a count of 4-1 on Saturday in the final game of a doubleheader played at LMU's Page Stadium. The weekend series loss is the first of the year for the Lions.
Sophomore Matt Lowenstein went 3-for-4 with a run scored out of leadoff spot for LMU on Saturday. Jonathan Johnson and Matt Koch both had two hits, with Koch collecting his team-best 10th and 11th doubles of the season with a RBI.
Junior Martin Viramontes went four and a third innings as LMU's starter, allowing two runs on three hits and three walks en route to being tagged with the loss. Aaron Griffin was the first of four relievers used, allowing two runs on five hits before giving way to lefty Matt Florer. Florer retired the only hitter he faced before Jacob Smigelski tossed the next third of a frame. Left-hander John Lally finished the game on the hill, pitching the final two-thirds of an inning.
Sean Madigan paced the Irvine offense, finishing 2-for-5 with two runs scored and a triple. Scott Gottschling also had a solid day at the plate, batting 2-for-3 with a run scored and a RBI.
Andy Lines was impressive as the starter for Irvine, tossing five scoreless frames before handing the ball over to Nick Hoover. The right-hander pitched the next two and a third scoreless before Matt Whitehouse failed to record an out and allowed a run on three hits. Jimmy Litchfield closed the door on the Lions, pitching an inning and two-thirds en route to claiming his first save of the year. The victory pushed Lines' record to 1-0 this season.
UC Irvine got on the board first in the game, scoring once in the top of the first. After a D.J. Crumlich walk and a Jordan Fox single through the left side put two on with nobody out, Brian Hernandez reached on a fielder's choice to load the bases. Viramontes got a pop up to second base on the ensuing play before issuing a walk to force in the first run of the game. Fortunately for the Lions, Viramontes got the next two hitters without allowing any further damage.
The Anteaters pushed the lead to 2-0 in the fourth, plating a two-out run on a single from the ninth hitter, Gottschling. Madigan got the inning going with a one-out triple down the right field line before coming around to score on the single.
Irvine scratched a third run across in the seventh, scoring the runner with two out to extend the lead to 3-0. Gottschling singled to shortstop to start the frame before moving to second on a sacrifice bunt from Crumlich. After Griffin got the second out without allowing the runner to advance, Hernandez singled through the left side of the infield to plate the two-out run.
The lead stretched to 4-0 after UCI plated another two-out run. Madigan singled to start the frame before moving to second on a sacrifice bunt. After a fly ball for the second out moved the runner to third, Crumlich delivered the RBI with a single into centerfield.
LMU finally broke through with a run in the bottom of the eighth, cutting the deficit to 4-1. Lowenstein singled with one out before advancing to second on a single from Johnson. Koch came up with the big hit on the ensuing play, lining a RBI-double past the bag at third to plate the run. Unfortunately for the Lions, Litchfield entered the game and promptly struck out Shon Roe and induced an inning-ending popup from Simonitsch to escape danger.
The Lions managed to put a man aboard in the bottom of the ninth when Ryan Hawthorne doubled down the right field line with two out, but could not push a run across in the frame en route to dropping the 4-1 decision.
The Lions return to action on Tuesday when they host Long Beach State for a midweek game at 3 p.m.