March 6, 2007
LOS ANGELES - Behind an impressive relief outing from freshman Xavier Esquivel, LMU baseball scored five unanswered runs to top Cal State Northridge (11-10) 9-8 in 11 innings. Sophomore Brett Mendoza posted the winning hit for the Lions (8-11-1), a shot to right field that plated Eric Farris in the bottom of the 11th inning. The Lions have now won their last four games.
Things looked rough for LMU when Cal State Northridge built an 8-4 lead by the third inning, thanks to four home runs from four different Matadors. Three of them were charged to LMU starter Lee Roberts, who threw two innings in his first career start.
Esquivel entered to runners on first and second and no one out in the third inning and gave up a single and a home run to make it the 8-4 Matador advantage. Following the home run, Esquivel turned it on and retired the next 19 of 20 batters he faced, giving up just one more single along the way. The outing shut down Cal State Northridge, who had just tallied hung eight runs in the second and third innings, for six innings.
Nate Keadle and Andy Beal followed out of the bullpen for the Lions, each tossing one scoreless inning. The Lions' bullpen of Esquivel, Keadle, and Beal did not issue a single walk, but combined to strike out five.
Beal earned the win and improved to 2-1 after throwing the ninth for the Lions. It was the junior's fifth appearance in five games, as he has tallied a win and three saves in his last four outings.
The Matadors went with rookie Brian Slover on the mound to start the game. He was charged with four early earned runs, before giving way to Mark Haderlein, Phillip Hann, and Edwin Quirarte. Quirarte (1-3), the Matadors' closer, suffered the loss after working the final 3.1 innings. He gave up one earned run on three hits and issued three walks.
But that's when the Matadors begun their tear, putting up back-to-back home runs to open the second inning. The third long ball came with one out in the frame.
Despite the offensive explosion, LMU never backed down, tying things again in the second inning when Farris drove in DeAndre Miller with a single up the middle.
Trailing 8-4 in the bottom of the third, the Lions cut the CSUN lead to three when Michael Glomb's groundout scored Shoop, who had put up his second hit of the game earlier in the frame.
The Lions went on to score single runs in the sixth and eighth innings, melting away the Matador lead.
But the Lions still trailed 8-7 in the ninth, needing a rally to extend their winning streak to four straight. Farris started the inning with a single and moved to second on a stolen base. He scored the tying run when CSUN first baseman Jorge Andrade Jr. watched an Angelo Songco ground ball go right through his legs into right field.
With another rally opportunity in the bottom of the 11th, Jeremy LaMell moved Farris to third base with a sacrifice bunt. The Matadors intentionally walked Sean Dovel, and Mendoza made them pay by sending the game-winner into right field on a 2-2 count.
Farris, Dovel, Shoop, and Mullins each had two hits for LMU.
Despite the error that cost the Matadors the game's tying run, Andrade Jr. went 3-for-5 with one RBI and two runs scored.
The Lions will take their four-game winning streak to the Big Easy to take on Tulane in a three-game series this weekend. As always, Lion fans can follow all of the action on both Gametracker and Lions' All-Access audio at www.LMULions.com.