Lions Blank UC Riverside to Conclude Home Slate, 3-0
LMU posted its fourth shutout of the year on Tuesday.
May 22, 2012
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The LMU baseball team (25-26) posted its fourth shutout of the year on Tuesday, blanking UC Riverside (21-29) by a count of 3-0 at LMU's Page Stadium to conclude the home portion of the 2012 season. The Lions limited UC Riverside to three hits over the course of nine innings, sending four pitchers to the mound.
Freshman Sean Buckle got the start for LMU, lasting four innings and allowing just one hit while striking out three in his first career start. Lefty Justin Grijalva, who earned his first career victory on Tuesday to improve to 1-0, dealt 2.2 scoreless frames while striking out a trio of Highlander hitters before handing the ball over to Aaron Griffin. The right-hander was as sharp as ever, striking out three over 1.1 innings before Bret Dahlson shut the door in the ninth to seal the shutout and record his 10th save of the year.
Senior Alex Guthrie had a stellar day at the plate for LMU, going 3-for-4 with a run scored, a double, his fourth homer of the year and two RBI. He and Colton Plaia connected for back-to-back homers in the seventh. For Plaia, the round-tripper was his team-leading sixth of the year.
Riverside right-hander Mitch Patito got the start and took the loss, lasting seven innings and allowing three runs on six hits and three walks while striking out seven, to fall to 3-4. Eddie Young, Phil Holinsworth and Nick Vilter were the lone Highlander hitters with a hit, as all three singled.
LMU broke the scoreless game in the fifth, plating a run after benefitting from a leadoff double off the bat of Joey Boney. The junior shortstop moved to third on a sacrifice bunt from Matt Lowenstein before coming in to score on a two-out infield single from Guthrie to put the Lions on the board.
The Lions extended the lead to 3-0 in the seventh as Guthrie and Plaia belted back-to-back homers with two out. The back-to-back shots were the first for the Lions since Matt Koch and Brad Bauer went back-to-back at UC Riverside on April 21, 2010. Tuesday's game marks the first time since that same day at Riverside that the Lions have belted a pair of homers in one inning, as LMU hit three in the third inning at the Riverside Sports Complex.
Carrying a two-hitter into the ninth, Dahlson surrendered a two-out single to Vilter, but rebounded to get pinch-hitter Cody Stewart to ground out to second base to end the game and record the save.
LMU will finish the 2012 season this weekend when it travels to Santa Clara for a three-game West Coast Conference series. Friday's game one is slated for a 6 p.m. first pitch.