Early Runs Sink Lions in Opener
LMU surrendered four in the second and one more in the third before falling, 5-3.
Opening a three-game West Coast Conference series against BYU on Thursday night, LMU (11-10, 2-2 WCC) surrendered four runs in the second inning and one more in the third en route to dropping a 5-3 decision to the Cougars (10-9, 1-0 WCC) from Page Stadium.
The Lions committed an error and had a passed ball in the four-run second, leading to a pair of unearned runs being charged to right-hander Blake Redman. Redman, who took the loss and fell to 2-4 on the year, tossed 6.0 innings and allowed five runs (three earned) on nine hits. Sophomore Codie Paiva was the only reliever LMU used in the contest, tossing the final 3.0 scoreless frames while allowing just one hit with two strikeouts.
BYU starter Maverik Buffo earned the victory after dealing 6.0 innings and allowing three runs on seven hits and two walks to improve to 3-3. Keaton Cenatiempo finished the game for the Cougars, logging the final 3.0 scoreless frames and dancing out of trouble in each of the final two innings. For his efforts, Cenatiempo was credited with his first save.
Brock Hale led the way for BYU on Thursday, finishing 3-for-4 with a run scored to improve his average to .446 for the year. Three other Cougar hitters finished with two hits, including Bronson Larsen and Colton Shaver who each collected an RBI. Shaver’s 2-for-5 night featured a double and a stolen base.
LMU had three players finish with multiple hits, including Jamie Smart who went 3-for-4 with a run scored and a walk. Brandon Shearer provided much of the production for the Lions, going 2-for-4 with three RBI.
The four-run second inning began with a double from Hale before an error charged to Nick Sogard put runners at first and second. A passed ball allowed the runners to move to second and third, setting the table for RBI-hits from Larsen and Kyle Dean. Shaver followed with an RBI-single before Brennon Anderson capped the scoring run with a sacrifice fly.
Trailing 5-0 headed to the bottom of the fourth after BYU tacked on a run in the third, LMU plated a run on a two-out single from Shearer, cutting the deficit to four at 5-1. The Lions would claw to within two at 5-3 in the sixth when Shearer punched his second hit of the night back up the middle to bring home Smart and Steven Chavez. Chavez had doubled earlier in the frame.
Cenatiempo had to work himself out of trouble in the eighth inning after LMU loaded the bases with two out following singles from Smart and Decolati, and a walk to Jimmy Hill III. The right-hander escaped the jam by striking out pinch-hitter Trevin Esquerra.
It was a similar story in the ninth inning, as LMU received a leadoff single from Phil Caulfield before a two-out walk to Smart put the tying runs aboard. Cenatiempo once again buckled down, getting Chavez to ground weakly to shortstop to end the game.
LMU, which stranded 11 runners in the loss, will look to even the series on Friday when they send LHP Brenton Arriaga to the mound at 6 p.m.
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