Lions Forced Into Win or Go Home Tonight
LMU dropped a 4-1 decision to Pepperdine on Friday afternoon and now faces an elimination game.
May 23, 2014
STOCKTON, Calif. - The LMU baseball team (31-23) dropped a decision to #29 Pepperdine (38-16) by a count of 4-1 on Friday night at the WCC Baseball Championship being played at Banner Island Ballpark in Stockton, Calif. The Lions now face an elimination game against Gonzaga at 8:10 pm tonight. If LMU records the victory, it will advance to play Pepperdine tomorrow at 7 pm for the WCC Championship.
Facing the West Coast Conference Pitcher of the Year in Aaron Brown, LMU managed to get on the board first with a run in the top of the second. Senior Brice Savage belted a triple off the centerfield wall before coming in to score on a sacrifice fly from Tommy Cheek. Cheek, who extended his LMU single-season record for sac flies to 11, now has 14 in his career to rank tied for third all-time at LMU.
Brown finished the game having tossed eight innings and allowing just the one run on five hits and two walks while striking out seven. The decision moved him to 11-1 on the year. LMU stranded eight runners on Friday afternoon.
The 1-0 Lion lead held until the bottom of the fourth as Brown, hitting for himself out of the fourth spot in the order, laced a leadoff single off the wall in right field off of LMU starter Patrick McGrath. Brad Anderson delivered what proved to be the game-winner in the next at bat, lifting a towering home run down the left field line for his fifth round-tripper of the year to hand Pepperdine the 2-1 advantage.
McGrath turned in a quality effort in the loss, throwing 5.1 innings and allowing two runs on nine hits while striking out five. The loss dropped the senior to 6-3 on the year.
Leading 2-1 headed to the bottom of the eighth, Pepperdine benefitted from a costly error charged to third baseman Ted Boeke. Manny Jefferson connected on a hard-hit ball to third with the bases loaded and one out where Boeke had it hit off his hip and skip into left field to allow a pair of runners to score.
The Lions had a number of missed opportunities in the game, as Fletcher singled to third base with Boeke at second and two out in the third, but Boeke was caught between second and third on the play before eventually being put out to end the threat.
The fourth inning saw LMU run into another out as Tanner Donnels seemed to misread a sign and was thrown out at second base trying to steal for the first out of the frame. In the sixth, Fletcher reached with a leadoff single to start the inning and moved to second on a wild pitch, but LMU spent three outs without advancing the runner to keep the game at 2-1.
The Lion seventh inning also proved heartbreaking as LMU loaded the bases with only one out before Tyler Cohen bounced into a 6-4-3 inning-ending double play. LMU managed to load the bags when Austin Miller was hit for the 21st time this season, moving him into a tie for the LMU single-season record with Jim McAnany (1986).
Senior Eric Karch entered in the ninth inning for Pepperdine, tossing a perfect frame and locking up his 13th save of the year.