Stellar 2014 Season Ends in WCC Championship
LMU fell to #29 Pepperdine, 6-1, in the WCC Championship game.
May 24, 2014
STOCKTON, Calif. - LMU baseball's stellar 2014 season came to an end on Saturday night at Banner Island Ballpark in Stockton, Calif. as the Lions (32-24) fell to #29 Pepperdine (39-16) by a score of 6-1 in the 2014 West Coast Conference Championship game. The 32-win season marks the most victories for the program since the 2004 club won 32.
At the conclusion of the game, three Lions were named to the West Coast Conference All-Tournament team. Juniors Colin Welmon and Tanner Donnels were joined by freshman David Fletcher on the squad of honorees.
LMU stranded five runners over the first five innings on Saturday, including four in scoring position, as the two teams battled to a scoreless draw through five innings. LMU's biggest threat came in the fourth inning when Donnels punched a single and moved to second on a wild pitch. The Lions elected to sacrifice the runner to third, but Jackson McClelland struck out Jimmy Jack and Tommy Cheek to end the threat and keep the game scoreless. McClelland, who earned the victory and improved to 8-3, lasted six frames and allowed just one run on seven hits and one walk while striking out two.
The turning point in the game came in the bottom of the fifth as freshman shortstop Manny Jefferson saved a run on a flare out toward left field off the bat of David Edwards. Freshman Austin Miller, who finished 2-for-4 out the leadoff spot, was going on contact from second base, but Jefferson sprinted out from his position and dove to make the incredible SportsCenter-worthy stab. The momentum carried into the offensive side for the Waves in their next at bat, as they scored three runs on four hits off of freshman Brenton Arriaga after failing to record a hit over the first five innings.
Chris Fornaci broke up the no-no with a double into right centerfield before a bunt single from Jefferson and an RBI-base hit from Brandon Caruso put the Waves on the board. Bryan Langlois contributed a controversial big blow one out later, lacing a two-RBI double down the right field line that was called fair and reviewed using video replay to make it 3-0. The call on the field stood, as the video angle was far from conclusive in either direction.
Arriaga finished the game having thrown the five frames, allowing three runs on three hits and one walk before being tagged with the loss and falling to 4-5.
The Lions finally got on the board with a run in the bottom of the sixth to cut the deficit to 3-1 as Donnels, who went 2-for-3, shot an RBI-single off the wall in right field to bring home Fletcher. The freshman standout led off the inning with a single to extend his hitting streak to 15 straight games before moving into scoring position on a balk charged to McClelland.
Jefferson hurt the Lions again in the seventh inning, this time doing so with the bat after belting an RBI-double to right field to bring home Hutton Moyer from second base to run the Wave advantage to 4-1. Moyer welcomed LMU's closer Bret Dahlson to the game with a double on the first pitch of the seventh inning to set up the opportunity.
The Waves lead stretched to 6-1 by way of two runs in the top of the eighth. Aaron Brown, who earned MVP honors for the WCC Championship Tournament, contributed the first run with a single back up the middle to plate Langlois before Moyer drove in the final run of the game with a sacrifice fly to bring home Brown.