Lions Tie Game in Eighth, UCLA Squeezes Past in End
LMU scored three times in the eighth inning, but UCLA used a two-out squeeze bunt to earn a 6-5 victory in the bottom of the inning.
LMU scored three times in the top of the eighth inning, but UCLA (14-16) used a two-out squeeze bunt with men on the corners in the home half of the inning to recapture a lead and hold on to beat the Lions (14-16), 6-5, on Tuesday from UCLA’s Jackie Robinson Stadium.
The Bruins got to LMU starter, Tyler Cohen, early in the contest, chasing the starter after just 1.1 inning and tagging him with three runs on two hits and three walks. Walks proved to be a problem for the Lions, as LMU issued seven to accompany one hit-by-pitch.
Brenton Arriaga, who was the first of five relievers used by LMU, was charged with two runs on four hits and one walk over 2.2 innings. Both runs came on one swing of the bat from Luke Persico, who belted his first homer of the year in the third inning.
LMU used the long ball for a pair of early runs as well, as Jimmy Hill connected for a solo shot in the third before Ryan Erickson circled the bases on the first of his career in the fourth. Despite the homers, and thanks to good middle-inning relief, LMU trailed 5-2 headed into the eighth.
Facing reliever Moises Ceja in the eighth, LMU drew a one-out hit-by-pitch and walk to get the inning going. Hunter Virant go the second out on a fly ball to right, but LMU began a string of left-handed hitting pinch-hitters from there, beginning with Kyle Dozier. Dozier lined a single to left field to load the bases, setting the table for a two-RBI single from pinch-hitter Billy Wilson to draw the Lions within a run. After working the count full, freshman pinch-hitter Brandon Shearer lined a game-tying single into left field to chase home pinch-runner Joe Murray from second.
With new life, LMU turned the ball over to Harrison Simon in the bottom of the eighth, but a leadoff walk immediately put him in a jam. UCLA sacrificed the runner to second before Jake Pries contributed a pinch-hit single on a 0-2 pitch to push runners to the corners. Simon recorded a huge strikeout on the ensuing play for out two, but with LMU sighing a bit of relief, Kort Peterson dropped a perfect squeeze bunt down the third base line to push home the game winner.
After allowing the winning run in the eighth, Simon was saddled with the loss and fell to 2-1. Brian Gadsby, who allowed the tying run in the eighth, pitched a scoreless ninth to claim the victory and move to 3-0 on the season.
LMU will return to action on Friday when it opens a three-game West Coast Conference series with Wells Fargo PCH-Cup Rival Pepperdine at 6 p.m.
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