LMU Stockton Bound, Still Alive for Regular Season Title
LMU defeated Portland, 7-3, to earn a spot in the WCC Championship Tournament.
Needing one win to punch its ticket to the WCC Championship Tournament, LMU (35-16, 18-7 WCC) posted a 7-3 victory over Portland (10-39-1, 5-20 WCC) on Friday night from Joe Etzel Field in Portland, Ore.
Teamed with a Gonzaga victory over BYU, LMU’s win also kept the Lions alive in the race for the regular-season WCC Championship. Should Gonzaga complete the sweep of BYU on Saturday, that would leave both the Bulldogs and Cougars with seven losses in conference play, as the two would split the title. It would also leave the door open for LMU to win the final two at Portland, leaving LMU also with seven losses and a share of the crown as part of the three-way tie.
The Lions received a quality start from senior left-hander Brenton Arriaga on Friday night, as Arriaga dealt 7.0 innings and allowed three runs on eight hits and three walks with seven strikeouts to improve to 6-2 on the season. Sophomore Niko Decolati impressed out of the bullpen, striking out four over 2.0 innings to seal the victory.
Offensively, LMU received two-hit nights from Phil Caulfield, Niko Decolati, Spencer Erdman and Jamey Smart. Erdman, who went 2-for-5 with a run scored, a triple and two RBI, extended his hit streak to 19 games – the longest since David Fletcher hit in the final 15 of 2014, and the first four of 2015 to post a 19-game streak.
Lefty Corbin Powers got the start and took the loss for Portland, surrendering six runs on six hits and two walks with five strikeouts over 6.0 innings. The decision dropped the redshirt-junior to 1-6 on the season.
Portland managed to get on the board first in the game, as Kevin Wade punched a two-out RBI-single into centerfield in the first inning. Wade ultimately finished the game 2-for-4 with two RBI, as he also singled home a run in the third.
Trailing 1-0 headed to the third, LMU exploded for five runs in the frame, claiming a lead it would not relinquish. Jimmy Hill got the inning started with a solo homer – his third of the season – before Billy Wilson reached on a strikeout and a wild pitch. After stealing second and third, Wilson scampered home on another wild pitch, making it 2-1 LMU. Caulfield, who went 2-for-4, followed with a walk before Decolati punched a single into centerfield, setting the table for Erdman’s two-RBI triple. Smart capped the scoring run with a sacrifice fly, driving in his 33rd run of the season.
The Lions would add a sixth run in the fourth inning as Wilson launched his team-leading fifth homer of the year, and LMU tacked on the final tally in the eighth on a bases-loaded walk to Cooper Uhl.
Jason Rosen had a strong day for the Pilots at the plate, scoring all three of Portland’s runs, including launching his first homer of the year over the wall in right field in the fifth inning.
LMU will look to keep its Championship hopes alive on Saturday when it sends Cory Abbott to the mound at 6 p.m.
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