#23 LMU Tops UC Riverside, 5-3
#23 LMU defeated UC Riverside, 5-3, on Monday night in Riverside, Calif.
Playing the first of five games this week on Monday night, #23 LMU (31-14) defeated UC Riverside (18-26), 5-3, from the Riverside Sports Complex in Riverside, Calif.
Phil Caulfield, Niko Decolati and Billy Wilson each finished with two hits, as Wilson went 2-for-3 with a double, a triple, two runs scored and one RBI. The triple, which put LMU on the board in the second inning, was his fifth of the year.
The Lions used five pitchers in the victory, beginning with Cory Abbott. The right-hander, who will toe the rubber on Saturday against Gonzaga, tossed 2.0 scoreless frames with three strikeouts and moved to 10-1 with the “staff-day” victory. Blake Redman surrendered one run over 2.0 innings of his own before Kyle Dozier, Braydon Salzman and Codie Paiva finished the game. Paiva, who tossed a scoreless ninth inning, earned his fourth save of the season.
LMU stranded the bases loaded in the first inning, but got two runs in the second after Jimmy Hill drew a walk in front of the RBI-triple from Wilson. Decolati followed later in the inning with a clutch two-out RBI-single – his first of two RBI on the night.
After UCR cut the deficit in half with a run on an RBI-single from Mark Contreras, LMU added two more runs in the seventh. Wilson led off the inning with a double before Caulfield singled him home with a hit through a drawn-in infield. Decolati once again came up with a big hit, splitting the gap in right-centerfield to score Caulfield from first with a run-scoring double.
Contreras once again managed to cut the deficit to one run for the Highlanders in the eighth, lacing his second homer of the year, a two-run shot, over the wall in centerfield to run the tally to 4-3. Contreras finished the game 3-for-4 with three RBI.
Looking for insurance headed into the bottom of the ninth, LMU scored once more following a leadoff walk to Caulfield. The native of Burlingame, Calif. stole second, one of three stolen bases on the night for LMU, before ultimately coming in to score on a two-out RBI-single from Jamey Smart. The single extended Smart’s hit streak to five games.
Other hit streaks that were extended on Monday included Erdman stretching his streak to 13 games, Caulfield extending to five, Decolati to nine, and Wilson to seven straight. With the win, LMU has now won nine of its last 10 games, 20 of 24, and 23 of 29.
LMU will continue a busy week of play on Wednesday, traveling to CSU Bakersfield for a 6 p.m. first pitch. Right-hander Giuseppe Benedetti is scheduled to get the start for the Lions.
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