Lions Drop Opener to Pepperdine, 6-3
LMU struggled with control on Friday, hitting six batters and walking four.
May 18, 2012
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The LMU baseball team (23-25, 11-8 WCC) dropped the opener of a crucial three-game West Coast Conference series on Friday to Pepperdine (31-19, 13-6 WCC), falling by a count of 6-3. The LMU pitching staff struggled with control in the game, hitting six batters and walking four more.
Floyd Given led the Pepperdine offense, finishing 2-for-4 with a homer, a double and four RBI. Joe Sever, the reigning WCC Player of the Week, reached four times and scored twice. Junior Jon Moscot earned the victory after tossing 6.2 innings and allowing three runs on seven hits and three walks to improve to 5-5. Eric Karch tossed the final 2.1 innings, allowing two hits but no runs, to earn his first save of the season.
Junior Matt Lowenstein was 2-for-3 out of the leadoff spot for LMU. The native of Chino Hills, Calif. scored twice and drew a pair of walks. Freshman Colin Welmon took the loss after tossing five innings and allowing five runs on six hits and two walks. The right-hander, who fell to 6-4 on the year, managed a career-best seven strikeouts, but he also hit three batters.
Control issues cost Welmon three runs in the first inning as a leadoff single and a pair of hit-by-pitches loaded the bases and set the table for a two-out bases-clearing double off the bat of Given into the right-centerfield gap.
The Lions punched back with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first. Lowenstein reached on an error before a pair of ground balls moved the runner to third with two out. Colton Plaia drove in the two-out run with a single into the hole before eventually coming around to score on a Shon Roe single into centerfield to cut the deficit to 3-2.
Welmon got back into trouble in the third, allowing a run on three hits, as LMU fell behind by a count of 4-2. Sever reached with a leadoff single before a four-pitch walk to Tony Cooper moved the runner to second. LMU nearly escaped the jam without any damage as Welmon induced a fly ball to centerfield and struck out Given to leave runners at the corners with two out, but a Matt Forgatch single on a 2-2 pitch up the middle pushed home the run and extended the lead.
The Waves managed to stretch the lead to 6-2 headed into the bottom of the sixth as Given single-handedly extended the lead to 5-2 in the fifth with his second homer of the year with one out. The home run was the fourth allowed by Welmon this year. With Griffin now on the hill in the sixth, Cooper contributed a run-scoring single, shooting a hit back up the middle to bring home Matt Gelalich and the Waves' sixth run.
After wasting a solid opportunity in the sixth that saw LMU put a pair of runners aboard with nobody out, the Lions managed to scratch a run across in the seventh - but the damage should have been more. Lowenstein led things off with a single before a double off the wall from Fujimoto put runners at second and third with nobody out. Alex Guthrie swung at the first pitch and popped up to Sever down the right field line for the first out, but LMU did advance 90 feet on a wild pitch that plated the run. Unfortunately, Plaia struck out looking and Mitchell Esser flew out to left to strand the runner and leave the tally at 6-3.
Trailing by three headed into the ninth, LMU managed to get its leadoff man aboard, but a fly out to centerfield and a tailor-made double play ball off the bat of Guthrie spelled the end of the road for LMU.
LMU and Pepperdine will continue the three-game series tomorrow at 2 p.m.