Lions Can't Hold Lead in Ninth, Fall 5-3 to Gonzaga
LMU surrendered three runs in the top of the ninth inning en route to the loss.
April 15, 2011
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - LMU (19-13, 3-1) couldn't hold a lead in the ninth inning on Friday as Gonzaga (20-10-1, 4-0) stole a victory with three runs in the top of the ninth, highlighted by a three-run home run off the bat of Cameron Edman. The Lions scored three times in the sixth to take a 3-2 lead, but Ryan Hawthorne couldn't convert the save.
Left-hander Jason Wheeler pitched well for LMU, tossing seven and two-thirds innings and allowing two runs on seven hits and one walk while striking out five. Chris Eusebio was the first of two relievers used on Friday, pitching a third of an inning before Hawthorne blew the save in the ninth. Hawthorne allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks.
Ryan Carpenter got the start for Gonzaga, allowing three runs on six hits before being taken off the hook by the late Gonzaga run support. Mark Phillips got the win after throwing a scoreless inning of relief, while Cody Martin locked up his seventh save of the year with a perfect ninth.
Edman went 3-for-4 with the three-run homer and three RBI to pace the Bulldog offense. Eric Lane also hit well, finishing 2-for-4 out of the leadoff spot.
LMU got the leadoff man aboard via hit in each of the first two innings, but after sacrificing the runner to second, the Lions were unable to mount any further offense as the teams stayed scoreless through two frames.
Gonzaga struck first on Friday, scoring twice in the top of the third to take an early 2-0 lead. A one-out single from Steven Halcomb got things started before a walk and a bloop single down the right field line loaded the bases with one out. Tyler Chism took advantage of the opportunity on the first pitch of the at bat, lining a sacrifice fly to centerfield to put Gonzaga on the board. Billy Moon, who entered the game hitting .380, came up clutch on the ensuing play, singling into right field to cap the scoring run.
LMU once again put a couple runners on in the third, but once again, Carpenter pitched out of the jam, stranding two Lion runners at first and second. A one-out double from Bret Dahlson and a walk to Lowenstein put the runners on with one out, but Jonathan Johnson struck out and Koch hit a ground ball to shortstop to end the frame.
The Lions couldn't cash-in on a prime opportunity in the fifth, putting a runner at second base with nobody out before failing to score. Zac Fujimoto reached with a bunt single and moved to second on a throwing error charged to Carpenter. LMU played for a run, bunting the runner along, but Dahlson popped-up to first in foul territory and Lowenstein struck out swinging to leave Fujimoto stranded.
LMU finally broke through in the sixth, scoring three times to take a 3-2 lead. Johnson reached with a four-pitch walk to get the ball rolling before a Koch double scored Johnson all the way from first. A Shon Roe hit-by-pitch and an Alex Guthrie sacrifice bunt put runners at second and third with one out. Joe Vierra came up clutch with a hard-hit single back up them middle to knot the tally at two. With runners at the corners, LMU went back to small-ball, having Fujimoto lay down a bunt down the third base line and sending the runner from third on the safety squeeze. The throw to first got Fujimoto, but the return throw to home was not in time to catch a sliding Roe as LMU took the lead.
The Bulldogs punched back in the ninth, scoring three times off Hawthorne to take the 5-3 victory. After an error and a single put two runners on, Edman cleared the bags with a towering shot to left centerfield to hand Gonzaga the lead. Martin had no trouble shutting the door on the Lions in the bottom of the ninth, retiring the side in order with two strikeouts.
The two teams continue the three-game series tomorrow at 1 p.m.