Four-Run 12th Hands LMU 8-5 Victory at USC
LMU blew a two-run lead in the ninth, but rebounded to score four in the 12th.
April 11, 2012
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The LMU baseball team (14-14) blew a two-run lead in the bottom of the ninth, but rebounded to score four times in the 12th en route to knocking off USC (19-11) by a count of 8-5 on Tuesday at Dedeaux Field. With the victory, LMU snapped a six-game losing streak to the Trojans.
LMU scored four unearned runs in the 12th, benefitting from a pair of errors charged to second baseman Dante Flores. After the first error allowed David Edwards to reach, Joey Boney bunted the runner to second, setting the table for a RBI-single from Mitchell Esser. After a fly out and walk put runners at first and second, Flores committed the second error of the inning, throwing a ball into the dugout down the first base line to plate the second run of the inning. Junior Cullen Mahoney capped the scoring run, lining a single into centerfield for two RBI to put LMU on top 8-4.
USC managed to plate a run in the bottom of the 12th, but LMU held on for the extra-inning win to improve to 3-1 in extras this year.
Mahoney finished the game 2-for-6 with the two RBI, while junior Colton Plaia also had two RBI after driving in a pair with two out in the fourth to even the tally at 2-2.
Junior Aaron Griffin took the victory after blowing a save in the bottom of the ninth, improving to 3-3. The right-hander entered with two men on and nobody out in the ninth en route to allowing both of the inherited runners to score. Griffin finished the game having tossed three innings, allowing two hits while striking out four. The native of El Cajon, Calif. took over for left-hander Ryan Hawthorne when Hawthorne walked the first two hitters in the bottom of the ninth. A throwing error charged to Griffin on a potential game-ending double play ball allowed the first run to score before Garrett Stubbs notched a RBI bunt single to tie the game in the ninth.
Matt Foat, USC's three-hole hitter, finished the game 2-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBI to lead the Trojan offense. USC stranded 15 runners on Tuesday. Wyatt Strahan took the loss after facing the minimum over his first three innings of work. Former Lion Head Coach Frank Cruz left the righty in one too many innings, as Strahan, who fell to 3-2, allowed the four unearned runs on two hits and a walk in his fourth and final inning of work.
USC got on the board first, scoring once in the second and third innings. A throwing error charged to Scott Harkin at shortstop got the second inning going before a single through the left side put two men aboard. A sacrifice bunt and an infield single plated the run, but the damage could have been worse, as USC went on to load the bases before grounding into an inning-ending double play.
After a Foat single to third base brought home Garret Houts and the game's second run in the third with one out, LMU once again avoided the crooked number when it got a double play to end the frame.
LMU got a two-out rally going in the fourth when Mahoney singled and moved to third on a Harkin double. Plaia came up clutch on the ensuing play, lining a two-out two-RBI single into left field against reliever James Guillen to knot the tally.
The Lions tacked on two more in the seventh to take a 4-2 lead into the bottom of the seventh. A Kyle Raubinger single and a Boney walk set the table for a RBI-single from Tanner Donnels through the left side to hand LMU the lead. Boney got a great secondary lead on the ensuing play as LMU executed a double-steal and the throw to get Donnels at second sailed into centerfield. Boney managed to scamper home on the errant throw to second - one of three USC errors on the night. LMU committed four of its own, as the teams combined for seven errors.
Although LMU lost the two-run lead in the ninth, the Lions worked out of jams in extra innings, including a bases-loaded and one-out jam in the 11th. Mahoney made a beautiful play up the middle and fired a strike to the plate to cut down the lead runner for the second out in the 11th before Griffin induced a fly ball to left field to completely escape the jam.
LMU will return to action on Friday when it opens a three-game WCC series against San Francisco at 3 p.m.