Lions Drop Nail-Biter to Santa Clara, 5-4
LMU scored once in the first and three times in the bottom of the ninth in the loss.
May 4, 2008
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - LMU (22-26, 6-12) made things exciting in the bottom of the ninth inning on Sunday, scoring three times before eventually dropping a 5-4 decision to Santa Clara (29-17, 9-6) in the rubber-game of a three-game West Coast Conference series at Page Stadium.
Sophomore Angelo Songco paced the Lion offense, finishing 2-for-3 with a home run, a double, a run scored and two RBI. Freshman Jonathan Johnson also chipped-in two hits, batting 2-for-4 with a run scored and a double in the ninth. Senior A.J. LaMonda picked a good time to deliver his only hit of the afternoon, singling home two runs in the three-run final frame. Michael Glomb finished 1-for-5 with an infield single to extend his career-long hitting streak to 18 games. The streak is the longest since Erik Johnson hit in 24 straight games in 2006.
Senior Nate Keadle got the start and lasted four and a third innings, allowing four runs on nine hits while striking out three batters before taking the loss and falling to 1-4 on the season. Senior Andy Beal tossed the next three and two-thirds of relief, giving up one run on five hits and striking out two batters. Freshman Chris Eusebio dealt the final frame for LMU, allowing a hit and a walk over the span.
Evan LeBlanc led the Bronco offense on the day, finishing 3-for-5 with a home run, two runs scored and a RBI. Ryan Conan, along with four other Santa Clara hitters, finished with two hits on the afternoon, with Conan collecting a double, a run scored and a RBI. Right-hander Steve Kalush got the start and the victory for Santa Clara, dealing five and a third innings and allowing one run on five hits and two walks while striking out four batters. Alex Rivers dealt the next inning and two-thirds, surrendering a hit and a walk and striking out two batters. Mark Willinsky pitched the final two innings, giving up three ninth-inning runs on three hits and a walk and striking out four batters. Willinsky, who entered the game with a three-run advantage in the eighth, was credited with his fifth save of the season.
LMU got on the board first on the day with one swing of the bat, as Songco blasted his team-leading 10th home run of the year in the bottom of the first. For Songco, the home run was his second in the series against the Broncos.
Santa Clara took a 3-1 lead in the top of the third inning, scoring three runs on four hits in the frame. A one-out single by LeBlanc got the inning started before a single and an error off the bat of Tommy Medica put runners at second and third. After a sacrifice fly pushed a run across and moved Medica to third, Jon Karcich doubled down the left field line to run the tally to 2-1. Curtis Wagner, who finished 4-for-5 yesterday, followed with the two-out RBI-single on the ensuing play, brining home Karcich to cap the frame.
The Broncos extended the lead to 4-1 headed into the bottom of the fifth inning. Conan reached with a one-double before Karcich was hit by a pitch to put runners at first and second. After Beal took over on the hill for LMU, Wagner collected another hit to load the bases. Gabe Alcantar drove in the run on the ensuing play, blooping a single into right centerfield to bring home Conan. Beal did a nice job of settling down on the very next play, inducing an inning-ending double play to Glomb at third base to retire the side.
LMU threatened in the bottom of the sixth inning, loading the bases with one out, before Rivers worked his way out of the jam for the Broncos. A leadoff infield single by Glomb got things going before Songco drew a walk to put runners at first and second. After a sacrifice bunt advanced the runners 90 feet, Ryan Wheeler walked to load the bases. Rivers entered and quickly struck out Sean Dovel for out number two, stranding the bases loaded with a lineout to the third baseman on the ensuing play.
Santa Clara took a 5-1 lead into the bottom of the ninth after LeBlanc collected his fifth home run of the season in the inning. The left fielder belted a 1-1 pitch over the wall in left centerfield before Beal hit Medica in the very next at bat. The right-hander was quickly ejected by home plate umpire Scott Letendere.
LMU made things interesting in the bottom of the ninth inning, scoring three runs in the inning to run the tally to its eventual final at 5-4. Joe Vierra, who pinch-hit for the Lions, reached with a leadoff walk before moving to third base with one out on Johnson's double to left centerfield. LaMonda followed with a two-RBI single back up the middle on a 3-2 pitch to cut the deficit to 5-3. After a groundout off the bat of Glomb that left a runner at second with two down, Songco came up clutch with a RBI-double to left centerfield to extend the game one more batter. Matt Koch came to the plate with the tying run at second base, but grounded out to first to end the Lion rally.
LMU will return to action on the road after finals week on Saturday, taking on No. 4 Arizona State in a three-game series being played in Tempe, Ariz. The Lions return home on May 14 when they host UC Irvine in the final mid-week game of the season.