Offense Comes Alive, Lions Even Series
LMU plated eight runs on 10 hits to even a three-game WCC series with Portland.
Highlighted by home runs from juniors Jimmy Hill III and Cassidy Brown, LMU's offense came alive on Saturday night as the Lions (7-12, 1-1 WCC) plated eight runs on 10 hits to defeat Portland (11-7, 1-1 WCC) by a score of 8-1 to even a three-game West Coast Conference series being played at LMU's Page Stadium.
Hill's blast, a two-run shot in the second inning, highlighted a three-run frame for the Lions as they jumped out to an early 3-0 lead. Including his first career homer as a Lion, Hill finished the game 1-for-3 with a run scored, two RBI and a walk.
The two teams traded a run in the third, with Portland scratching an unearned run across on a passed ball charged to Brown.
The unearned run tagged to LMU starter Cory Abbott was the lone blemish on his line, as the right-hander dealt 6.0 innings, allowing just three hits and two walks with three strikeouts to record the victory and move to 2-2 on the year.
After giving up a run in the top of the third, LMU benefitted from one of three balks called in the game en route to a run of its own. Austin Miller extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a single to start the inning before moving to second on a ground out. A wild pitch moved him to third, allowing the balk to push him home just moments later.
Leading 4-1 headed to the bottom of the sixth, LMU posted another three-run frame, with Brown's third homer of the year going for a solo-shot to lead off the inning. Singles from Jamey Smart and Ted Boeke got the inning going again before a one-out walk to Hill loaded the bases and chased Portland starter, Davis Tominaga. Phil Caulfield contributed a sacrifice fly to bring home the second run of the inning before Billy Wilson punched an RBI-single into centerfield to cap the scoring run.
Tominaga was ultimately tagged with the loss and fell to 2-3 after surrendering seven runs (six earned) on six hits and two walks over 5.1 innings.
The Lions tacked on one more run in the bottom of the eighth as Boeke led off the frame with a double off the third base bag before racing around to score on a double from Kyle Dozier one play later. The double was Dozier's first of the season, and helped him to a 2-for-4 night. Boeke also finished 2-for-4, scoring a pair of runs and collecting his third double.
After Abbott worked the first six innings, LMU called to the bullpen and summoned Harrison Simon for the seventh and eighth. The right-handed sophomore allowed two hits and a walk, but struck out four in keeping Portland off the board. Freshman Mark Finkelnburg worked a perfect ninth inning and closed the door, including striking out Dan Whittaker for one of his two strikeouts to end the game.
LMU will look to win the series over Portland tomorrow when it sends Tyler Cohen to the mound for a 1 pm first pitch.
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