April 17, 2011
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -
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LMU (20-14, 4-2) dropped the deciding game of a three-game West Coast Conference series to Gonzaga (21-11-1, 5-1), 7-1, on Sunday at home in Page Stadium. With the win, the Bulldogs now own sole possession of first place in the WCC.
The Lions mustered just three hits, including a solo home run from senior Joe Vierra. For Vierra, the homer was his third of the year, and second in as many days. The right-handed hitter finished 2-for-4 with a run scored and a RBI. Zac Fujimoto was the only other Lion to collect a hit, finishing 1-for-3.
Sophomore Aaron Griffin got the start and took the loss after tossing four innings and allowing five runs on seven hits and three walks to fall to 5-2. Marco Gonzales earned the victory after throwing seven and a third innings and surrendering just one run on three hits with five strikeouts. The lefty walked four hitters, but it never really got him into trouble en route to the win.
Tyler Chism had three hits, including a double, and a run scored for Gonzaga, while Billy Moon finished 2-for-5 with three RBI, a run scored and a double. Eric Lane went 2-for-3 with two runs scored out of the leadoff spot to help guide the Bulldogs to the win.
After the Lions stranded a pair of runners in the home half of the first, Griffin pitched around a leadoff double in the second to keep the game scoreless headed into the bottom of the second.
Vierra got ahead 3-1 in the count to lead off the bottom of the second before belting his third home run of the year, and second in as many games, to hand LMU a 1-0 early advantage.
Gonzaga got back to even at one run apiece with a run in the top of the third, but the damage could have been much worse for the Lions and Griffin as the Bulldogs loaded the bases with nobody out. A walk, a single and a hit-by-pitch loaded the bags before LMU traded two outs for a run on a 4-6-3 double play. After issuing a second walk in the inning, Griffin induced a shallow pop fly to right centerfield that was handled by Jonathan Johnson to end the threat and limit the damage.
The Lions put two runners on with nobody out in the fourth, but failed to do anything with the opportunity as they stranded two more runners to leave the scored tied at one.
Carrying momentum, Gonzaga broke the 1-1 stalemate in a big way in the fifth, scoring four runs to take a 5-1 lead. A hit-by-pitch and a bunt single set the table for a two-RBI double from Moon into the right centerfield gap. A single and a ground-rule RBI-double from Cameron Edman plated the third run of the inning and also spelled the end of the day for Griffin. Left-hander Matt Florer took over and did his job, recording the three outs at the cost of one run on a RBI-groundout from pinch-hitter Andy Hunter.
The Bulldogs extended the lead to 6-1 with a run in the top of the sixth. Lane reached with a leadoff double before moving to third on a bunt single from Chism. Royce Bolinger cashed in on the opportunity two hitters later, lifting a sacrifice fly to centerfield to plate the sixth Bulldog run.
Gonzaga pushed one final insurance run across in the eighth, advancing the lead to 7-1 as Moon contributed the RBI-single to left field to plate Keegan Acker. Acker had reached with a leadoff single earlier in the frame.
Cody Martin was the only relief that the Bulldogs needed on Sunday, tossing a scoreless inning and two-thirds with three strikeouts to finish the game on the hill for Gonzaga.
The Lions return to action on Tuesday when they host USC at 3 p.m.