Feb. 23, 2007
LOS ANGELES - Another nail-biter in Los Angeles put the Lions on the wrong end of a 4-3 series opener at Page Stadium against San Jose State Friday. LMU (3-9-1) got a plus performance from starting pitcher Brad Meyers, but could not answer when the Spartans (8-3) broke a 3-3 tie game with a run in the top of the ninth.
The 4-3 game marks the fourth straight loss where LMU has fallen by two or less runs. San Jose State has now won five consecutive games.
What started as an exciting pitchers' dual between right-handers Meyers and Loren Moneypenny, came down to the final at bats for both teams, leaving the bullpens with the decisions.
San Jose State left fielder Chris Balatico tripled in the top of the ninth to score Kyle Bellows to give the Spartans the 4-3 advantage. Bellows had drawn a leadoff walk off Lion reliever Mike Kenney (0-2), who suffered the loss after tossing 1.1 innings.
Spartan reliever Greg Shannon (1-0), who held the Lions scoreless for his 1.2 innings of work, earned his first victory of the season. Scott Sobczak earned his fourth save after throwing the ninth.
Meyers impressed in his 7.1 inning outing, holding the Spartans to two earned runs while sitting down six.
Monneypenny worked the first 6.1 innings for the Spartans, allowing three earned runs on five hits.
The Spartans struck first in the top of the third, scoring an unearned run when Balatico crossed the plate on a passed ball that went off the knee of home plate umpire Johnny Pineda.
San Jose State went up 2-1 in the top of the seventh after Kyle Bellows' double scored Donato Giovanatto, who singled to lead off the frame.
With one out, back-to-back extra base hits by Songco (second double of the game) and pinch hitter DeAndre Miller (triple) and a sacrifice fly by pinch hitter Sean Dovel gave the Lions two in the bottom of the seventh for the 3-2 lead.
A pair of singles let the Spartans tie things at 3-3 in the eighth to set up the dramatic ninth-inning finish.
Songco led the way for the Lions with his 2-for-3, two run scored effort.
Shaffer and Bellows each had two hits for the Spartans.
Lion fans were also disappointed to see Eric Farris' hitting streak come to an end Friday. Dating back to last season, Farris had hit safely in 25 straight games, the longest streak since the LMU record was set at 27 games by Don Sparks in 1988. Sparks went on to be a fifth round draft pick of the New York Yankees that June. Entering Friday's game, Farris had posted a hit in every game dating back to April 23, 2006.
The series continues Saturday with a 1:00 p.m. start. Fans who can't make the trip to Page Stadium can follow the action on Gametracker and Lions' All-Access audio at www.LMULions.com.