April 21, 2006
Los Angeles, Calif. - A balanced scoring attack and a 15-for-36 (.417) team day at the plate gave LMU baseball the 10-3 West Coast Conference series opener win over Santa Clara (21-18, 3-7 WCC) Friday at Page Stadium. Junior A.J. LaMonda led the Lion (17-25, 5-5 WCC) bats with a 3-for-3 outing, while sophomore Brad Meyers made another solid start on the mound.
The Lions scored in four innings, including a four-run third inning, and received hits from eight different hitters en route to the 10-3 victory. Every LMU run crossed the plate with two outs already in the books, as clutch hitting came through for the Lions Friday.
Two two-out rallies gave LMU a 6-0 lead by the bottom of the third. With two outs in the second inning, LaMonda drove in Chris Pettit, who had been hit by a pitch by SCU starter Justin Kuehn. Anthony Soto then singled up the middle to score LaMonda.
Then again with two outs in the bottom of the third, Sean Dovel's single down the left field line scored Pettit, who had tripled. LaMonda followed with a triple of his own to bring in Dovel and Kyle Mura, who singled to shortstop. Casey Gordon's single to center pushed LaMonda in from third to make it a 6-0 LMU lead. The Lions, who entered the game with just three triples on the season, finished with two in the third inning alone.
The Broncos threatened in the fifth and sixth innings, combining for three runs, highlighted by Eric Newton's 12th home run of the season.
But the Lions responded to the threat, adding three insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth on a home run by Pettit. The shot over the Mikos Blue Monster was more potent thanks to Soto and Erik Johnson, who were also on base after a single and a walk respectively.
Meyers improved to 6-4 on the season after scattering six hits in his eight innings of work. He finished with five strikeouts and just one walk.
Kuehn suffered the loss for the Broncos and fell to 2-5 after being charged with the Lions' 10 earned runs on 14 hits.
Reliever Ezequiel Ruvalcaba tossed the ninth inning for LMU, allowing just one hit.
Lion fans were only disappointed to see Johnson's impressive hit streak come to an end Friday. The senior right fielder had hit safely in every game since March 7, racking up a 24-game streak. The streak was the longest mark since Don Sparks set the school record at 27 in 1988.
But as one streak ends, another begins, as sophomore Eric Farris equaled his season-long streak with hits in nine consecutive games.
LaMonda added four RBI to his perfect 3-for-3 day, while Pettit finished 2-for-4 with three RBI and three runs scored. Pettit's two hits totaled seven bases, as he finished with the home run and the triple. With just one more run scored, Pettit will crack into the LMU all-time record book in his third category. The senior is already among the top-10 in both doubles (3rd, 64) and stolen bases (T6th, 55).
Brian Wilson (2-for-5), Dovel (2-for-4), Gordon (2-for-4), and Soto (2-for-3) also posted multiple-hit outings for LMU.
LMU and Santa Clara continue the three-game series Saturday, with first pitch slated for 1:00 p.m. The day at the park will be a special one for fans, as LMU celebrates California Highway Patrol (CHP) Appreciation Day. Festivities include a special appearance by "CHiPs" television start Erik Estrada, as well as giveaways, and a patrol car display in Pride Park.
Fans who can't make it to the park for the festivities can catch all of the game's action as it happens on Lions' All-Access at www.LMULions.com.