With the tying and go-ahead runs aboard with two out in the ninth inning, senior Billy Wilson drove a pitch down the right field line where Matt Smithwick dove into the right field corner and made an incredible game-saving catch to seal a 4-3 victory for Santa Clara (23-24, 9-13 WCC) over LMU (21-25, 12-10 WCC) on Friday night from Stephen Schott Stadium.
WILSON IS LMU’S ALL-TIME BRUISE LEADER: Senior Billy Wilson was hit for the 14th time this year in the sixth inning – running his career total to 50 over his four-year stint with LMU. Wilson’s 50 hit by pitches are the most for a Lion in a career, breaking the original record set by Jim McAnany from 1984-87.
LMU SLOW TO FIGURE OUT HOWARD: Sophomore Travis Howard, who improved to 2-2 with the victory, retired the first 13 Lion hitters before Niko Decolati punched a one-out single into centerfield in the fifth inning. A wild pitch moved Decolati to second base before Brandon Shearer delivered an RBI-single to put LMU on the board. The Lions would cut further into the deficit after a passed ball and a productive groundout from Cooper Uhl brought home Shearer and made it 3-2 Broncos.
BOX SCORE NOTES: Howard went 6.0 strong innings, allowing three runs (one earned) on two hits and a walk while striking out four before handing the ball over to Michael Praszker with the Broncos leading 4-3 in the seventh … the Lions managed just five hits in the setback, including two in the ninth inning … LMU went 0-for-9 hitting with two out, while Santa Clara was 5-for-12 (.417) … junior Codie Paiva was saddled with the loss and fell to 5-5 after surrendering four runs on eight hits and a walk with four strikeouts over 6.0 innings of work … Steven Wilson earned his second save of the year by contributing a scoreless ninth … John Cresto highlighted a trio of Broncos with two-hit nights, going 2-for-4 with his 10th home run of the year and three RBI … the two-run homer handed Santa Clara a 2-0 lead after one inning, as LMU never led in the ballgame.
FRASSO CONTINUES TO SHINE OUT OF BULLPEN: Nick Frasso impressed out of the Lion bullpen on Friday, allowing just one hit while striking out five over 2.0 scoreless innings. Frasso has now struck out 24 hitters over his last 10.2 innings, and has allowed just one run and nine hits with 30 strikeouts over 14 innings out of the bullpen this year – a span of five appearances.
JOURNEY TO THE TOURNEY: Following Friday’s loss, LMU sits at 12-10 in WCC play – putting them in a tie with San Francisco for fourth place. Pepperdine, which beat Saint Mary’s in the opener of their three-game set, is in first place at 15-7. The Gaels are in second with a record of 13-9, followed by Gonzaga at 14-10. San Francisco, which also lost to BYU for the second time in as many days, is 14-12.
ON DECK: LMU will continue the three-game West Coast Conference series with Santa Clara on Saturday at 1 p.m.
PURCHASE YOUR TICKETS: LMU still has four home games remaining to be played at Page Stadium. New ticket plans start at $50 for a General Admission season ticket, while Reserved season tickets can be purchased for $99. Members of LMU’s Little Lions Club also get into all LMU home baseball games as part of the membership, while students, faculty and staff with a valid One Card also receive free General Admission access to every home game. Reserved season tickets behind home plate include a nameplate on your chair identifying your seat(s). Fans can also package a mini plan to include any five home games this year, with prices starting at $30. To purchase season tickets, mini plans or single-game tickets, please contact the LMU Box Office at 310-338-5466 or visit LMULions.com/tickets.
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