Lions Even Series with Gonzaga Behind Strong Offensive Effort
LMU scored nine runs on 14 hits en route to the 9-4 victory.
April 16, 2011
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -
The LMU bats came alive on Saturday as LMU (20-13, 4-1) scored nine runs on 14 hits, including five doubles and a home run, to defeat Gonzaga (20-11-1, 4-1) by a count of 9-4 to even the three-game West Coast Conference series being played at LMU's Page Stadium. Both teams are now 4-1 atop the WCC standings headed into Sunday's series-finale.
Freshman Bret Dahlson paced the Lion offense, finishing 3-for-4 with two doubles, a run scored and two RBI. Senior Jason Barmasse also had two doubles on Saturday, batting 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI. Matt Lowenstein extended his hitting streak to 13 straight games with a two-hit effort out of the leadoff spot. The left-handed hitter went 2-for-4 with a run scored and one walk.
In a game that was dominated by offense, junior Alex Gillingham went eight and a third innings, allowing four runs on 14 hits with four strikeouts to improve to 6-2. The right-hander did well to escape dangerous situations, inducing four doubles plays. The four double plays turned by LMU matched a season-high set on February 19 at UC Riverside, and also came within one of the LMU single-game record of five set on May 14, 2008. Matt Florer was the only reliever used by the Lions on Saturday, tossing two-thirds of perfect relief.
Eric Lane and Tyler Chism each had three hits for Gonzaga, as Lane went 3-for-5 with two runs scored. Chism was a perfect 3-for-3 with a run scored and a double hitting out of the seventh spot in the order.
Tyler Olson got the start and took the loss after allowing nine runs on 10 hits and three walks while striking out four in six innings of work. The loss dropped the left-hander to 5-2 on the year. Aaron Brooks tossed the final two innings for the Bulldogs, allowing four hits and striking out two.
After a scoreless first inning, LMU got on the board with clutch two-out hitting. The Lions strung together three straight two-out doubles to plate three runs and take an early 3-0 lead. A leadoff walk to Shon Roe led to a sacrifice bunt from Alex Guthrie to put a runner at second with one out. After a groundout for the second out of the inning, Zac Fujimoto flied a ball just over the head of the centerfielder for the first of three straight doubles to drive in the first run of the game. Barmasse wasted no time pushing home the second run, punching a double down the right field line to bring home the speedy Fujimoto. After falling behind 1-2 in the count, Dahlson won the at bat with a ringing double off Mikos Blue Monster in left field to cap the scoring run.
Refusing to let the Lions get too far out of reach early, Gonzaga pushed a run across in the third to run the tally to 3-1. Lane contributed a one-out single before moving to third on a single down the right field line from Clayton Eslick. Billy Moon made it three straight hits, lining a single into right centerfield to put the Bulldogs on the board. Gillingham did well to escape further damage, striking out the next two hitters to end the frame.
LMU came out swinging in the fourth, scoring four times and sending seven batters to the plate before the first out was recorded. The Lions would go on to score once more from there, running the tally to 8-1 after four. A Guthrie single preceded Joe Vierra's second home run of the year for the first two runs of the inning. Fujimoto got things rolling once again with a walk before coming around to score on a Barmasse double inside the bag at third. Dahlson followed suit with a second double to left field before a Lowenstein single put runners at the corners with nobody out. After a strikeout ended the no-out rally, Matt Koch delivered the final run with a sacrifice fly to right centerfield.
The Bulldogs managed to plate a second run in the fifth to cut the deficit to 8-2, benefitting from singles from Lane, Moon and Royce Bolinger to load the bases. Cameron Edman contributed the RBI, shooting a single to right field to bring home Lane. Gillingham escaped further danger on the ensuing play, inducing an inning-ending double play to shortstop to end the frame and the rally.
Gillingham once again found himself in a bit of trouble in the top of the sixth, but again used a double play to escape danger. Singles from Chism and Keegan Acker put runners at the corners with no out before LMU traded two outs for a run on a double-play ball off the bat of Steven Halcomb. With the Gonzaga run, LMU's lead was cut to five at 8-3 headed into the bottom of the sixth.
The Lions answered back with a run in the bottom of the sixth to run the lead to 9-3 as Koch delivered a two-out RBI to bring home Lowenstein. Lowenstein had reached with his second hit of the day and took second by way of his eighth stolen base.
LMU turned its fourth double play of the game in the eighth, as it once again traded two outs for a run. Marco Gonzales doubled down the left field line to start the inning before an infield single put runners at the corners with nobody out. As he did all day, Gillingham induced a ground ball on the ensuing play as the Lions turned a 6-4-3 double play.
Gillingham came out to work the ninth, recording one out and leaving a runner at second for the bullpen before Matt Florer recorded the final two outs to close out the ninth.
LMU and Gonzaga will meet tomorrow in the decisive game of the three-game series at 1 p.m.