Roberts Crashes Waves, LMU Earns Sole Possession of First Place
Lee Roberts tossed eight innings to guide LMU to a 9-1 victory over Pepperdine.
April 17, 2009
MALIBU, Calif. - Every Lion hitter in the starting lineup collected at least one hit, and senior Lee Roberts tossed another gem, as LMU (24-16, 8-2) defeated Pepperdine (21-15, 4-6) by a count of 9-1 on Friday in the first game of a three-game West Coast Conference series being played in Malibu, Calif. LMU has now won 16 of its last 20 games, and sits alone atop the West Coast Conference standings after a USD loss to Saint Mary's.
Roberts pitched eight innings, allowing only one run and scattering four hits and one walk while striking out six batters to improve to 5-0 on the season. He threw 96 pitches, including 68 for strikes. The native of Hermosa Beach, Calif. put the first six hitters down in order en route to retiring 14 of the first 15 he faced. He pitched to one batter over the minimum through the first six innings. Roberts now owns a 2.81 ERA over eight starts and 64 innings of work this season. He has lasted at least six innings in seven of his eight starts, and has amassed five or more strikeouts in each of his starts this year. The Lions have now won seven of the 10 games in which Roberts has pitched, including each of his last five starts. Jason Wheeler was the only Lion reliever needed in the win, tossing a scoreless ninth inning to ensure the victory.
Freshmen Ryan Hawthorne and Evan Simonitsch paced the Lion offense with three hits on the day, as Hawthorne went 3-for-5 with a run scored and a RBI. Simonitsch was 3-for-4 with two runs scored and a RBI. Juniors Ryan Wheeler and Angelo Songco finished with two RBI, joining freshman Shon Roe with two as well. The Lions, who came into the week ranked ninth in the NCAA in sacrifice bunts with 39, collected four in the victory on Friday. With the three hits, Hawthorne has now hit safely in 14 straight games, batting .369 (24-for-65) with 12 runs scored, four doubles, five walks, a stolen base and seven RBI. Including Friday's game, he has collected multiple hits on five occasions over the streak. The multiple-hit game was his 15th of the year, placing him third on the team in that category behind Wheeler and Songco with 16 apiece. With one hit, Songco has hit safely in five games, batting .500 (10-for-20) with six runs scored, three doubles, two home runs, four walks and 10 RBI over the span. Roe and Brad Bauer each have hit safely in four games after Friday's contest.
Brian Humphries collected the only RBI for Pepperdine, singling-home Ryan Heroy in the eighth inning. Nathan Newman got the start and lasted five and a third innings, allowing seven runs on nine hits and five walks to take the loss. Jonathan Harmston failed to record an out, surrendering two runs on a hit and a walk before Doug Konoske entered and finished the game on the hill for the Waves. The right-hander tossed three and two-thirds scoreless, striking out five along the way.
After putting runners on first and second with one out in the first inning for Songco, Newman punched-out the hitter before Wheeler was picked-off of first base on a pitch in the dirt to end the inning. Nate Johnson blocked the ball in the dirt and caught Wheeler, who took too large a secondary lead. Despite the setback, LMU broke through with a run in the third inning to take an early 1-0 advantage. A Simonitsch single got things rolling before the Lions sacrificed the runner to second. Kyle Spraker followed with a walk to put runners on first and second, preceding a RBI-single from Wheeler. The Lions would load the bases after the RBI, but Newman induced a shallow fly ball to right field and struck out Roe swinging on a 0-2 breaking ball to strand the bases loaded in the inning.
The Lions exploded for eight runs in the top of the sixth inning, collecting the eight on seven hits, to run the score to 9-0 in favor of LMU. Each batter in the Lion order reached at least once in the inning as LMU batted around in the frame. Bauer led things off with a double to left centerfield before Roe collected a sacrifice bunt to move Bauer to third. The Lions would then post a string of seven consecutive players reaching base safely following the sacrifice bunt. Hawthorne contributed his third hit of the day, lining a RBI-single back up the box with the infield in on the grass to start the rally. T.J. Bernardy followed with a double down the left field line to put runners at second and third. Simonitsch then contributed an infield single on a 2-2 pitch to push the next run home, leaving runners at the corners. Jonathan Johnson notched another Lion hit, singling-home a run on the ensuing play to run the tally to 4-0 in favor of LMU. A Spraker walk loaded the bases before Wheeler drew the same fate to force in another run. Songco strolled to the plate with the bases loaded, delivering a two-RBI single to right centerfield to chase Harmston from the hill. After Konoske entered and recorded a strikeout for the second out of the inning, Roe singled to cap the scoring run and ensure that every player in the lineup reached safely in the inning.
Pepperdine managed to score its only run of the game in the bottom of the eighth inning, recording a run on a hit and leaving the bases loaded. Heroy was hit by a pitch to start the inning before a one-out walk put runners at first and second. A ground ball to the right side moved the runners up 90 feet before Humphries collected a RBI-single into right field. The run proved too little and much too late for Pepperdine, as Wheeler entered in the ninth and shut the door on the Waves.
LMU and Pepperdine will continue the three-game series tomorrow at 1:00 p.m.