April 21, 2012
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -
The middle-innings were not kind to the LMU baseball team on Saturday, as Portland (21-13, 8-6 WCC) scored once in the fourth, twice in the fifth and three times in the sixth en route to defeating LMU (17-17, 6-5 WCC) by a score of 6-3 at LMU's Page Stadium. With the victory, Portland evened the series at one game apiece.
Left-hander Travis Radke turned in a stellar start for Portland, tossing 6.2 innings and allowing three runs on eight hits while striking out four to earn his sixth victory of the year and improve to 6-2. After Kody Watts dealt an inning and a third scoreless, Owen Jones closed the door on the Lions in the ninth to earn his 13th save of the year. The Lions did manage to send the tying run to the plate in the ninth, but Jones worked out the jam.
Freshman Trevor Megill looked good through the first three innings, but finished the game having tossed 5.1 innings and allowing six runs (five earned) on four hits and three walks while striking out four. With the loss, Megill fell to 4-5, snapping a string of four straight positive decisions.
Jeff Melby and Nick Armenta each doubled and drove in a pair of runs, as Melby finished 2-for-3 with a run scored and the double. Junior Cullen Mahoney had a solid day out of the three-spot in the order for LMU, going 3-for-5 with a run scored and a RBI, to guide LMU to 11 hits. The Lions out-hit Portland 11-4 in the game, but could not overcome the visitor in the runs column.
LMU struck first on Saturday, manufacturing a run in the bottom of the first to take an early 1-0 lead. Matt Lowenstein drew a leadoff walk before moving to second on a Shon Roe sacrifice bunt. After having his consecutive games reached streak snapped yesterday at 32, Mahoney started a new streak on Saturday with a RBI-single back up the middle to bring home Lowenstein.
Hitless headed into the top of the fourth, Portland received a leadoff triple from Sam Westendorf en route to a run to even the tally at one run apiece. Megill managed to strike out Caleb Whalen for the first out without allowing the run, but Turner Gill lifted a deep fly ball to left field on the ensuing play to chase home the equalizer.
Portland took the lead in the fifth inning, scoring twice to run the tally to 3-1. The inning started innocently enough as Megill got the first two hitters without incident. Melby got the rally going with a double inside the bag at third base before a walk and an Armenta double on a 0-2 pitch off Mikos Blue Monster in left cleared the bases and handed the Pilots the advantage.
LMU had a big chance in the bottom of the fifth, but ran itself into an out en route to staying off the board and leaving the score at 3-1. A one-out Lowenstein walk preceded an error charged to Zack McCoy at third base to put runners at first and second with just one out. Mahoney followed with a single through the right side, but Lowenstein was held at third on the play. Unfortunately, Roe turned second and headed to third where the ball was routed and Lowenstein was put out on the bases after a short rundown. Radke escaped the inning on the ensuing play, getting Plaia to pop up to second base to end the frame and the threat.
The Pilots added three more runs in the sixth inning, extending the lead to 6-1. A walk to Whalen got the inning going before an error charged to Scott Harkin on a hit-and-run left runners at the corners. Brian Frattali delivered the first of three runs in the inning on the ensuing play, laying a bunt down the first base line where it was fielded and thrown to the plate but not in time to get the runner. A passed ball and an intentional walk with one out loaded the bases, setting the table for a two-RBI single through the left side from Melby to cap the scoring run and hand Portland a five-run lead.
The Lions cut the deficit to three runs at 6-3 in the seventh, scoring twice on hits from Plaia and Alex Guthrie. Joey Boney reached with a leadoff single before being erased on a ground ball from Lowenstein. After Roe popped up to second base for the second out of the inning, Mahoney kept the frame alive with a dribbler through the right side. Plaia came up clutch with runners at first and second, lining a double down the left field line to bring home Lowenstein and chase Radke from the game. Facing reliever Watts, Guthrie grounded a ball into the hole at shortstop and legged out the RBI-single to run the tally to 6-3.
LMU brought the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth, but were unable to plate a run before falling by a count of 6-3. Jones got Lowenstein looking on a 3-2 pitch before Roe singled to third base to give LMU a runner. After a pop-up for the second out, Plaia contributed his second hit of the day to bring the tying run to the plate in the form of Guthrie. The senior hit the ball hard, but right into the defense, sending a pitch into centerfield on a line where it was handled by Armenta to seal the victory.
The Lions and Pilots will conclude the three-game series tomorrow at 1 p.m.
- GO LIONS -