Seven-Run Third Backs Another Abbott Gem
LMU scored seven runs in the third and Cory Abbott set a new career high in strikeouts.
In what has seemingly become a weekly event, junior Cory Abbott dazzled again on Saturday, tossing 8.0 innings and allowing three unearned runs on three hits and no walks while striking out a career-best 15 hitters to guide LMU (29-14, 15-5 WCC) to a 10-3 victory over San Diego (28-13, 14-6 WCC) to even a three-game West Coast Conference series being played at Page Stadium.
Abbott, who dropped his ERA to 1.84 on the season, did not allow a hit over the first six innings, with the only two men to reach to that point coming on a dropped third strike and a hit by pitch. The 15 strikeouts are one short of a program record, as Sandor Demosthenes punched out 16 against Gonzaga on April 19, 1996.
For his efforts, Abbott was credited with the win and moved to 9-1 on the season, remaining as the national leader in the category. Chris Murphy got the start and took the loss for San Diego, allowing nine runs on 12 hits over 4.0 frames. The decision dropped Murphy to 3-2 on the year.
LMU provided plenty of support for Abbott, scoring 10 runs on 14 hits, including two-hit days from Spencer Erdman, Jamey Smart, Jimmy Hill, Billy Wilson and Joe Murray. Five Lions, including Erdman and Hill, collected a double, while Wilson laced his third homer of the year, a three-run shot, to cap a seven-run third inning.
Cooper Uhl led off the crooked inning with a double before Murray singled to put runners at the corners. Niko Decolati drove in the first run with a double of his own, setting the table for a two-RBI double from Erdman. Hill contributed an RBI-single later in the stanza, leaving two aboard for Wilson's blast.
Wilson finished the game 2-for-4 with three RBI, while Hill was 2-for-3 with two driven in.
LMU tacked on two more runs in the fourth, including one on an RBI-double from Steven Chavez, before adding the final tally in the seventh inning. Hill brought home the run in the seventh, drilling a pitch off the wall in left field to score Brandon Shearer from first base.
Two errors defensively cost Abbott three unearned runs in the seventh, as the right-hander allowed a leadoff single to Jay Schuyler to break up the no-hit bid before an error charged to Smart at first put two men aboard. Abbott struck out the next two hitters, but Kevin Collard delivered a two-RBI double into left centerfield to break up the shutout bid. Bhret Bewley followed with an infield single to shortstop where Erdman fielded up the middle, spun and fired to first, but the ball kicked away from Smart, allowing Collard to scamper home from third.
Freshman Giuseppe Benedetti closed the game for LMU, pitching a scoreless ninth to seal the victory.
LMU will look to win the series on Sunday when it sends senior right-hander Blake Redman to the mound at 1 p.m. Sunday is also Senior Day for the Lions, as LMU will recognize 12 senior baseball players.
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