Lions Take Game One over #21 Gonzaga, 7-4
LMU scored three runs in the seventh inning to break a 4-4 tie en route to victory.
March 28, 2013
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - In what was expected to be a pitcher's duel between aces Colin Welmon and Marco Gonzales, LMU (12-13, 4-3 WCC) pounded out 12 hits to the tune of seven runs en route to defeating #21 Gonzaga (15-9-1, 4-3 WCC) by a score of 7-4 on Thursday in game one of a three-game West Coast Conference series being played at LMU's Page Stadium over the weekend.
Junior Tommy Cheek continued his hot hitting as of late, going a perfect 4-for-4 with a run scored and two RBI. Sophomore David Edwards had a huge two-RBI double in the sixth inning to tie the game at four, while junior Brice Savage finished 2-for-4 with a run scored. Seniors Matt Lowenstein, Colton Plaia and Cullen Mahoney each scored a run, with Plaia also collecting a double.
Welmon took the ball for LMU and earned a no decision after tossing 5.2 innings and allowing four runs on nine hits and two walks while striking out three. After senior Matt Florer dealt the next scoreless inning, senior Bret Dahlson tossed the final 2.1 innings, striking out a pair and earning the victory to improve to 1-4.
Left-handed All-American Marco Gonzales started for Gonzaga, going six innings and allowing seven runs (five earned) on nine hits and two walks while striking out four en route to being tagged with the loss. With the decision, Gonzales fell to 4-2.
The Bulldogs had four players who finished with two hits, including Caleb Wood who was 2-for-3 with a double, a run scored and a RBI.
LMU jumped out to an early lead on Thursday, scoring once in each of the first two frames to claim a 2-0 advantage after two. A two-out double from Plaia got the ball rolling in the first, as the senior catcher stole third base and came in to score on a RBI-single from Cheek.
Zac Fujimoto single-handedly extended the lead to 2-0 by drawing a one-out walk in the second. The speedy outfielder then took off for second base as Gonzales tossed an errant throw to first that got away from first baseman Zach Abbruzza. Fujimoto never slowed down on the play, scoring all the way from first base as the ball got down the right field line.
Gonzaga started to figure out Welmon in the middle innings, scoring once in the fourth and one more in the fifth to draw back to even at 2-2. Wood had the big hit in the fourth inning, shooting a RBI-double off Miko's Blue Monster in left field to bring home Cory Lebrun. The Bulldogs managed to collect three hits in that fourth inning, eventually stranding the bases loaded. Welmon nearly threw up a zero in the fifth, but a two-out double inside the bag at first from Clayton Eslick brought home Billy Moon to tie the game.
The offense kept rolling for Gonzaga in the sixth as two-out RBI-singles from Cabe Reiten and pinch-hitter Nicholas Minter drove in the go-ahead and fourth Bulldog runs of the game, handing Gonzaga the 4-2 lead headed into the bottom of the sixth inning.
Refusing to let the Bulldogs run away with momentum, LMU punched back for two runs in the home half of the sixth inning, running the tally back to even at four. Edwards contributed the run-scoring blow, belting a Gonzales pitch off the wall in left to bring home Cheek and Tanner Donnels. Cheek got aboard with a single down the left field line before Donnels delivered a line drive off of Gonzales' leg to set the table for Edwards.
The Lions reclaimed the lead in a big way in the seventh, scoring three times to take a 7-4 lead after seven. Savage doubled on the first pitch of the inning to get the rally started before Matt Lowenstein reached on a bunt single that was pushed toward the second baseman. Mahoney brought home the go-ahead run on the ensuing play, shooting a single through the left side. After a pitching change, Plaia bunted down the third base line and the ball was thrown away by the third baseman, allowing one run to score and moving Mahoney to third. Cheek capped his career day on the very next play, lining a RBI-single into centerfield to complete the scoring run.
Dahlson had no trouble closing the door in the ninth, putting the Bulldogs down in order to seal the victory and earn the win.
LMU and Gonzaga will conclude the three-game series on Saturday with a doubleheader starting at 10 a.m.