April 13, 2010
LONG BEACH, Calif. -
LMU (16-15) scored twice in the sixth and four times in the eighth to earn a comeback victory over Long Beach State (14-15) by a count of 6-5 on Tuesday at Long Beach State's Blair Field. With the victory, LMU took both regularly-scheduled games between the two teams this year.
Sophomore Evan Simonitsch contributed his first career home run in the sixth inning, a two-run shot to put the Lions on the board, while Brad Bauer had the biggest hit of the day, a pinch-hit RBI-single that pushed home the game-tying and eventual game-winning runs. Simonitsch finished 1-for-3 with the homer and two walks, while sophomore Matt Koch went 2-for-4 with the game-winning run and a RBI. With a 0-for-4 day at the plate, Ryan Hawthorne saw his 19-game hitting streak come to an end. The left-handed hitter did collect a run scored and a RBI in the victory.
Senior Xavier Esquivel got the start and lasted five innings, allowing five runs (one earned) on six hits and a walk before not factoring in the decision. LMU committed a pair of costly errors defensively to hurt Esquivel's start. Sophomore Jason Wheeler dealt the first of four scoreless relief innings from LMU's bullpen before handing the ball over to the game's eventual winner, Aaron Griffin. After Griffin dealt a perfect seventh, Chris Eusebio tossed the final two scoreless frames to earn his second save of the year and hand Griffin his third victory.
Jonathan Jones collected three of Long Beach State's eight hits, including a double, while Devin Lohman notched a two-RBI double in the loss. Nate Underwood was stellar as the Dirtbag starter, tossing four scoreless frames before the bullpen blew the lead. Troy Watson was charged with two runs over an inning and a third before David Brown blew the save after surrendering three runs on two hits and a walk over a third of an inning. Jason Markovitz pitched the final inning and two-thirds, allowing the game-winning unearned run.
The Dirtbags jumped-out to an early 4-0 lead with four runs in the second inning. Kirk Singer walked with one out before moving to third on a stolen base and a wild pitch on the same play. TJ Mittelstaedt contributed the RBI-single on the ensuing play before LMU's first costly error was charged to Alex Guthrie at first base. Joel Licon fielded a bunt and threw to first, but Guthrie dropped the ball, extending the inning for a Lohman two-RBI double and a Jones RBI-single on the next two plays.
The lead stretched to 5-0 after another unearned run was charged to Esquivel in the fourth. Juan Avila led the inning off with a double before a ground ball to the right side moved the runner to third. Kellen Hoime, who reached on the first Lion error of the game, once again put down a bunt, which was fielded by Koch and fired to first base. Unfortunately for the Lions, Jonathan Johnson was unable to field the throw as it skipped off his glove, allowing the runner to score from third.
Simonitsch sparked the Lion offense in the sixth with one swing of the bat. The sophomore outfielder came up with two out and a runner at first base and promptly belted a home run down the left field line and just inside the foul pole for his first career homer.
LMU completed the comeback in the eighth inning, plating four runs to take the 6-5 lead. A one-out Trevor Gee pinch-hit single got the ball rolling before Johnson singled into right centerfield to put runners at the corners. Simonitsch followed with a walk to load the bases before Hawthorne beat a double play ball to reach on a fielder's choice and plate the first run of the frame. Koch kept the inning moving with a RBI-infield single to make it 5-4, preceding Bauer's RBI-single over the second baseman's head and into right centerfield. Hawthorne scored the game-tying run without incident as the throw was re-routed to third in an attempt to cut down Koch trying to slide safely into the bag. As the throw made it to third base, it ricochet off the fielder's glove, trickling up the left field line, allowing Koch to pop-up from the slide and score what proved to be the game-winning run.
Long Beach State did make things interesting in the ninth as a two-out double from Jones brought the Dirtbag RBI-leader, Joey Terdoslavich, to the plate. The switch-hitter swung at the first pitch in the at bat, dribbling a ball to first base to end the threat and the game.
The Lions will return to action on Friday when they open a three-game West Coast Conference series at Portland at 3 p.m.