May 12, 2006
(San Francisco, CA) - In a crucial West Coast Conference series, USF took game one from Loyola Marymount 5-4 in an 11-inning four-hour marathon. The Dons (34-19, 13-6) remain in a first place tie with Pepperdine and drop the Lions (21-29, 8-8) to .500 in the WCC.
Junior pinch-hitter Blake Nelson was the hero of the day when he roped a ball down the right field line with the bases loaded in the 11th that scored sophomore third baseman Joey Railey from third. Railey had singled earlier in the inning and advanced to second on senior short stop Andrew Smith's single. Both runners advanced another base on junior pitcher Scott Cousins' sacrifice bunt. Senior right fielder Stefan Gartrell was intentionally walked to load the bases before Nelson pinch hit.
LMU started the scoring, plating one in the first inning off starter Cousins, but USF took the lead in the fifth after junior center fielder Lucas DeLong smashed a line drive over the left field fence for a lead-off homerun and Cousins doubled home freshman George Lujan who had singled and advanced on an error by LMU senior third baseman Kyle Mura. USF added their third run in the sixth.
The Lions tied the game at three with a two-run seventh and took the lead after senior center fielder Chris Pettit homered to right field in the eighth. The lead would be short-lived as USF would tie it in the bottom of the frame on junior Chris Bacigalupi's pinch-hit sacrifice fly.
Cousins threw a complete nine innings, but came away with the no-decision. The left-hander allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits and a walk and struck out a career high eight batters. Senior right-hander Patrick McGuigan (10-2) earned the win in relief throwing two scoreless innings, allowing three hits and striking out two. McGuigan is now 20-7 in his career on the Hilltop and is now tied with Nick Pereira (2005) for second place in single-season victories. He needs only one more to tie Dana Hendershott (1971) who has 11.
With the homerun, DeLong now leads USF with seven. Sophomore left fielder Luke Sommer had four hits and a stolen base on the afternoon. Railey and Smith each added three hits apiece. Railey now has 73 hits on the season.
Senior right-hander Roberto Torres (0-7) took the loss in relief, throwing 0.2 innings, allowing one earned run on two hits and struck out one Don. Starting pitcher, sophomore right-hander Brad Meyers threw seven innings, allowing three runs (one earned) on nine hits, two walks and struck out five batters. Meyers threw an impressive 130 pitches in the game. Pettit had three hits in today's game, including his homerun. Sophomore second baseman Eric Farris also homered.
USF returns to action in game two of the three game West Coast Conference series with Loyola Marymount Saturday at Benedetti Diamond. First pitch is set for 1:00 PM.