March 17, 2007
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - LMU baseball sported kelly green hats with a crimson "LMU" in honor of St. Patrick's Day, but luck was not on the Lions' side Saturday at UC Santa Barbara. For the second straight day, the Lions (10-14-1) saw a 4-4 tie game tilt to the Gauchos' (9-10) favor in the bottom of the eighth. The home run by UCSB's Mike Zuanich was the game-winner.
With LMU reliever Lee Roberts entering the 4-4 game to throw the bottom of the eighth, UCSB leadoff batter Zuanich welcomed him with a solo home run that proved to be the difference in the tight ballgame.
Roberts, a sophomore, suffered his first career loss and fell to 1-1 on the season.
Gaucho closer Justin Segal (1-0) held the Lions scoreless in the top of the ninth for the second straight day to earn the win.
The Lions had plenty of opportunities Saturday, as the UCSB pitching staff issued 11 free passes to the basepaths. Nine of them came in the form of walks, led by starter Chuck Huggins' seven. The other two were hit batters, both by Huggins as well.
But LMU left nine runners on base, tallying just four hits on the day.
The Lions were able to strike first Saturday, but not without some help from Huggins. Walks and hit batters brought in two runs in the second inning to put LMU up 2-0 early.
UCSB designated hitter Matt Anderson cut the lead in half in the bottom of the frame with a leadoff home run.
The Gauchos went up 3-2 in the fifth, scoring a pair of runs on back-to-back singles by Mario Lewis and Robbie Blauer.
With two outs in the sixth, UCSB made it 4-2 when Shane Carlson's double plated Chris McMurray.
But LMU was able to rally in the top of the seventh after getting leadoff batter Eric Farris on base with a walk from reliever Bryan Fleming. DeAndre Miller followed with a single through the right side that advanced Farris to second. Sean Dovel moved both runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. That proved even more valuable when Fleming was called for a balk to score Farris and put Miller on third. A sacrifice fly from Angelo Songco then brought in Miller to tie the game at 4-4 and set up Zuanich's heroics.
The Lions fell in Friday and Saturday's games by a combined three runs, as Friday's final score was 6-4.
The late game heroics erased a solid performance by LMU starter Daniel Macias, who worked 7.0 innings and allowed the four runs on eight hits. He struck out four, while issuing the only walk of the day for the Lion pitching staff. His seven innings of work marked the eighth straight game a member of the LMU rotation has worked into at least the seventh inning.
The final line for Huggins was an unusual one, as the starter worked 5.0 innings with seven walks, but allowed just one LMU hit. He gave way to Matt Wade and Fleming before Segal earned the win after 2.0 innings of work.
McMurray and Patrick Rose each had two hits for UCSB.
The three-game series concludes Sunday with a 1:00 p.m. start. Fans can catch the action right here at www.LMULions.com on both Gametracker and Lions' All-Access audio.