Lions Drops Series, 8-5 Heartbreaker to Dons in 10 Innings
LMU dropped an 8-5 heartbreaker to USF on Sunday.
April 15, 2012
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The LMU baseball team (15-16, 5-4 WCC) dropped a heartbreaker to San Francisco (16-23, 3-6 WCC) on Sunday by a count to 8-5. LMU trailed 5-0 headed into the bottom of the fourth before tying the game in the seventh. The Lions had a chance to win the game in the bottom of the ninth, but a strong throw from Ted LeMasters gunned down the would-be winning run before LeMasters drove in the go-ahead run in the top of the 10th.
LMU received a 4-for-5 day from freshman David Edwards, as the native of Tustin, Calif. also scored once. Junior Joey Boney went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI, while junior Colton Plaia connected on his fourth homer of the year.
Senior John Lally got the start for LMU, lasting just 3.2 inning and allowing five runs (three earned) on seven hits before not factoring in the decision. Sophomore Bret Dahlson entered with two down in the seventh before tossing three frames and allowing three runs (all in the 10th) to take the loss and fall to 1-3.
Four Don hitters had multiple hits on Sunday, as Adam Clear finished 3-for-5 to lead the way. Justin Maffei went 2-for-4 with three runs scored out of the leadoff spot, while Jason Mahood collected four RBI as part of a 2-for-6 day with a pair of doubles.
Abe Bobb got the start and went 5.1 innings for USF, allowing three runs on seven hits before giving way to the bullpen. Jordan Remer coughed up one run in relief before Cameron Love allowed the game's tying run to score over two-thirds of an inning of work. Elliott Waterman came on to finish the game for the Dons, tossing the final 3.1 innings of scoreless baseball to earn the victory and improve to 3-0.
Maffei got the game off to a bang, belting his third home run of the year over the wall in left centerfield for a leadoff homer. The leadoff round-tripper was the first allowed for the Lions since Gonzaga's Drew Heid connected on a leadoff shot to open a game on May 22, 2010. USF extended the early lead to 2-0 with a second run in the inning as Clear singled into left field with one out. Nik Balog followed suit with a dribbler through the right side, sending Clear into third, before Matt Chavez hit into a run-scoring fielder's choice to cap the frame.
Lally worked out of a jam in the top of the third, stranding the bases loaded to keep the game at 2-0. Boney committed an error to start the frame before Lally allowed a single to Clear. A heads-up defensive play at first from Shon Roe erased the lead runner at third when Roe fielded a ground ball and fired behind the runner who thought about scoring on the play but retreated back to the bag. After a strikeout for the second out, Lally issued a two-out walk before bouncing back to strike out Bradley Zimmer and strand the three runners.
Bobb managed to work out of a jam of his own in the bottom of third, stranding the bases loaded for LMU and pitching around a single and two walks by getting Plaia to line out to centerfield, keeping the two-run cushion in tact at 2-0 after three.
Carrying momentum from the defensive side of the ball, the Don offense came alive for three runs in the fourth to extend the lead to 5-0. A one-out error charged to Lally allowed LeMasters to reach before a walk set the table for a two-RBI double down the left field line from Mahood. Balog capped the frame two hitters later, belting his first triple of the year off the wall in right field to bring home Mahood with two down.
LMU managed to plate its first run of the game in the fourth, cutting the deficit to 5-1, but the damage could have been much more as LMU loaded the bases with nobody out. A walk to Tanner Donnels was followed by back-to-back singles from Alex Guthrie and Edwards to load the bases. Nick Devian strolled to the plate in the big spot, but grounded a ball to second base that looked like a tailor-made double play ball. Instead, the turn from Clear at shortstop pulled Balog off the bag at first, plating a run and leaving runners at the corners with one out. Bobb got tough from there, striking out Boney on three pitches before inducing a fly ball to right centerfield to strand two more runners, and end the frame and threat.
The Lions cut the deficit to two runs at 5-3 in the sixth, benefitting from a pair of singles from Guthrie and Edwards to kick-start the inning. Boney plated the first run one out later, delivering a double into the left field corner to leave runners at second and third. Lowenstein brought home Edwards on the ensuing play, lifting a fly ball to left field that proved deep enough for the sacrifice fly, cutting the lead to two. A walk to Roe and a double steal kept the threat alive with two out, but Remer got Cullen Mahoney to ground a ball to first base to strand the runners in scoring position.
LMU got all the way back to even in the seventh, scoring twice to run the tally to 5-5. Plaia single-handedly cut the deficit to one with a towering shot to left field for his fourth homer of the year. A walk and a one-out single preceded a rocket back up the middle from Devian that was knocked down by Love on the mound and thrown to first to put runners at second and third. Boney surprised everyone on the first pitch of his at bat, pushing a bunt up the first base line to plate the game-tying run.
After Mahoney made the play of the year to start a 4-6-3 double play in the top of the ninth, LMU nearly walked off with the victory in the bottom of the ninth. With Scott Harkin at second base, Edwards lined a one-out single into left field where LeMasters fielded and fired a strike in the air to the plate to cut down Harkin for the second out. Waterman escaped the jam after that, inducing a fly ball to centerfield to send the game to extras.
As is often the case in baseball, LeMasters made the big defensive play and had a chance to put his team ahead in the top of the 10th. Mason Morioka got the inning started with a single down the left field line before Zimmer put a bunt down in front of the plate. Dahlson fielded cleanly and tried to force out the leadoff runner, but fired into centerfield to leave runners at the corners with nobody out. After a shallow fly ball to right that failed to score the runner, LeMasters delivered a deep fly ball to right field to hand USF the lead at 6-5 on the sacrifice fly. Maffei followed by drawing a walk, setting the table for a bases-clearing double off the wall from Mahood to hand USF the eventual game-winning lead at 8-5.
The Lions return to action on Tuesday when they host Long Beach State at 3 p.m.