Lions Hold-Off No. 18 San Diego, Earn Series Victory with 8-6 Victory
Junior Matt Florer induced a game-ending 4-6-3 double play with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning.
May 12, 2012
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - The LMU baseball team (23-22, 11-6 WCC) held off a late offensive surge from No. 18 San Diego (37-13, 13-7 WCC) on Saturday en route to earning an 8-6 victory over the first-place Toreros to claim a series victory. The Lions led 7-1 after six innings, but San Diego outscored the Lions by a count of 5-1 over the final three frames to make things interesting. Junior Matt Florer induced a game-ending 4-6-3 double play with the bases loaded to secure the win and earn his first save.
Juniors Colton Plaia and Cullen Mahoney paced the Lion offense, with each driving in a pair of runs. Plaia went 3-for-4, while Mahoney was 2-for-3 with a pair of runs scored and his second homer in as many days. Alex Guthrie also homered for the second straight game, as he and Mahoney each have three on the year.
For the second straight day, a Lion freshman starting pitcher looked good against the top team in the WCC. Right-hander Trevor Megill went seven strong innings, allowing just two runs on seven hits while striking out a career-best 12 batters to improve to 5-6 with the win. The Lion bullpen was far from perfect, as a team of five relievers combined to toss the final two frames. Senior Ryan Hawthorne allowed three runs (two earned) on two hits over a third of a frame before giving way to junior Aaron Griffin. Entering with a three-run lead in the eighth with a runner aboard and one out, Griffin got the first two hitters he faced to maintain the three-run cushion. Griffin took the hill in the ninth, but the native of El Cajon, Calif. got into trouble, allowing the first two hitters to reach before eventually being charged with a run. Closer Bret Dahlson got one out before giving up a RBI-single and leaving the game with an apparent injury. Freshman Kevin Glomb was next out of the bullpen, walking Kris Bryant to load the bases, before turning the ball over to Florer. The lefty tossed just one pitch, inducing a double play ball to second base off the bat of Corey LeVier to end the game and seal the victory.
LeVier finished the game 2-for-5 with three RBI and a homer. San Diego hit three homers over the course of the seventh and eighth innings, including a pair in the three-run eighth. LMU got to the USD starter again on Saturday, chasing Calvin Drummond after 1.2 innings. The righty allowed four runs on five hits and four walks en route to dropping to 8-5.
LMU put up four runs in the second inning, highlighted by a Mahoney solo home run and a two-out two-RBI single up the middle from Plaia. The lead stretched to 6-0 in the fifth as LMU posted two more runs. Plaia singled and moved to second on a fielding error before Shon Roe shot a single into left field to put runners at the corners with one out. Mahoney singled back up the middle on the ensuing play to bring home the first run before Matt Lowenstein legged out an infield single to bring home Mahoney later in the frame.
Guthrie's solo shot in the sixth ran the total to 7-0 before a pair of singles and a RBI-groundout resulted in the first run of the game for the Toreros in the bottom of the sixth. Connor Joe cut the deficit to five at 7-2 with a home run in the seventh before an error charged to Andrew Daniel on a ground ball from Guthrie allowed Lowenstein to score from second base and handed LMU its eighth run in the top of the eighth.
The Toreros went on a power surge in the eighth, belting a pair of homers in the inning to plate three runs, including a two-run shot from LeVier after Bryant reached on an error charged to Mahoney one play earlier. A single from Austin Bailey and a hit-by-pitch got the ninth inning off to a solid start for USD, as LMU's bullpen struggled throughout. Dahlson entered with two aboard and nobody on, uncorking a wild pitch before allowing a RBI-single. After the injury replacement, Glomb nearly punched-out Bryant for the second out of the inning, but a few close pitches did not go in favor of the freshman, resulting in a walk to load the bases. With the tying run at second and the winning run at first, Florer entered and induced the game-ending double play on the first offering. The ball took a high hop out toward Mahoney, but the junior stayed with the play and delivered a strike to second where Scott Harkin made the turn.
LMU will attempt to sweep the No. 18 Toreros tomorrow at 1 p.m.