Lions Walk Off with 5-4 Victory Over Long Beach State
Junior Cullen Mahoney lined a RBI-single down the right field line to bring home Joey Boney and the game-winning run in the ninth inning.
April 17, 2012
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -
Boney, who went 2-for-3 with two runs scored, reached with a push-bunt single up the first base line before stealing second to set the table for Mahoney's walk-off single. The stolen base was Boney's 11th in 12 attempts this year.
Junior Matt Lowenstein continued his hot hitting, going 3-for-5 out of the leadoff spot. Freshman Mitchell Esser finished 2-for-4 with a run scored out of the eighth spot in the order. LMU used a staff day on the mound on Tuesday, starting with junior Matt Florer. Florer went a career-high five innings, allowing two runs on four hits while striking out two before not factoring in the decision. Ramiro Carreon tossed the sixth before freshmen Sean Buckle, Kyle Raubinger and Brandon Horth went the next 2.2 innings combined. Senior Ryan Hawthorne took over with two out in the ninth, striking out the only batter he faced to strand a runner at third and give LMU the chance to win it in the bottom of the ninth. With the victory, Hawthorne improved to 2-0 on the year.
Johnny Bekakis had three hits atop the Long Beach State lineup, finishing 3-for-4, but also committed a costly error with the bases loaded in the seventh that led to three Lion runs. Jeff Yamaguchi scored twice and drove in one as part of a 2-for-3 day at the plate for LBSU.
Long Beach State used six pitchers on Tuesday, starting with right-hander Matt Johnson. Johnson tossed three innings, allowing three hits and a walk before giving way to the bullpen. Eddie Magallon was charged with one run over one inning of work before Landon Hunt tossed two-thirds scoreless. Josh Frye was next out of the pen for the Dirtbags, allowing a run over 1.2 innings before Jake Stassi coughed up the lead by allowing a pair of runs over a third of an inning in the seventh. Jon Maciel, who took the loss and fell to 1-2, pitched the final two frames and allowed a pair of hits, including the walk-off single to Mahoney in the bottom of the ninth.
Long Beach State got on the board first in the game, manufacturing a run in the third inning to claim a 1-0 lead. Yamaguchi drew a leadoff walk before Long Beach elected to sacrifice the runner to second. Long Beach State successfully executed five sacrifice bunts on Tuesday. A check-swing single out toward second base off the bat of Bekakis put runners at the corners before Matt Duffy dropped a safety squeeze bunt down the first base line that allowed Yamaguchi to scamper home with a slide.
LMU tried to follow suit in the bottom of the third, putting the safety squeeze bunt on with Shon Roe at the plate and runners at the corners, but Boney was cut down by a stellar glove-flip from Johnson to keep the tally at 1-0. Boney had reached with a one-out hit-by-pitch before moving to third on a chopper over first base off the bat of Lowenstein.
The Lions nearly knotted the tally once again in the fourth, but a strong throw from Brennan Metzger in centerfield retired Alex Guthrie and the side in the inning on LMU's sixth hit of the day. Guthrie reached with a one-out single before David Edwards lined a base hit into left field to put runners at first and second. After a lazy fly ball to centerfield failed to move the runners, Esser lined a ball off of Magallon's foot and into centerfield. Metzger charged in from center and fired a bullet to the plate just in time to cut down Guthrie and the game-tying run.
The Dirtbags extended the lead to 2-0 in the fifth, plating a two-out RBI as a single ricochet off of Boney's glove at shortstop. A one-out single from Yamaguchi got the inning started before Florer punched out Zack Miller for the second out of the inning. Bekakis kept the inning alive with his second hit of the day, setting the table for the RBI-single on a 1-2 pitch from Duffy to plate LBSU's second run of the game.
The Lions finally scratched a run across in the fifth, cutting the deficit to 2-1 when Mahoney traded an out for a run with a ground ball to second base to plate Boney. The speedy shortstop reached with a single to start the inning before Lowenstein's second hit of the day put runners at first and second with nobody out. Roe did his job on the ensuing play, sacrificing the runners to second and third with his ninth sacrifice bunt of the year, before Mahoney came to the plate and drove in the run.
Long Beach State reclaimed the two-run cushion in the seventh at 3-1, scoring once but leaving the bases loaded. Singles from Jeff McNeil and Yamaguchi got the inning going before LMU erased Yamaguchi on a caught stealing for the first out. Sean Buckle, who took over for Ramiro Carreon after the leadoff singles, forced in the run on the ensuing play, committing a balk that ran the total to 3-1. Buckle then walked the next batter before giving way to freshman Kyle Raubinger for his first collegiate pitching appearance. The right-hander walked the first man he faced to load the bases, but pitched around the jam without allowing a run to score by inducing a ground ball and getting Juan Avila to fly out to left field.
LMU benefitted from a costly error charged to Bekakis in left field en route to taking a 4-3 lead after seven. Esser got the inning off to a good start with a single before Lowenstein singled one out later to put runners at first and second. A fielder's choice and a walk to Mahoney loaded the bases with two out before Colton Plaia lifted a fly ball to left centerfield that was dropped by Bekakis on the run, allowing all three runs to score and LMU to take a 4-3 lead.
The Dirtbags wasted no time getting a run back to even the tally at four, plating a run in the top of the eighth. Metzger reached with a leadoff hit-by-pitch before stealing second base to put himself in scoring position. A sacrifice bunt moved the runner up to third before Horth took over on the hill and promptly hit McNeil. Yamaguchi plated the run on the ensuing play, chopping a ball to shortstop for the productive out.
After Hawthorne stranded the go-ahead runner at third base in the top of the ninth, Boney got things going with the push-bunt up the first base line in the home-half of the ninth. His stolen base two batters later set the table for Mahoney's walk-off single on a 1-1 pitch.
LMU will return to action on Friday when it opens a three-game West Coast Conference series against Portland at 3 p.m.