Big Second Dooms Mustangs
Biola sent 14 runners to the plate and scored 10 runs in the second inning, sparking a runaway 16-4 win over The Master's College Wednesday afternoon in La Mirada.
The loss in game one of the season-ending, four-game series with the Eagles put a crimp in the Mustangs' postseason hopes. With three games left in the regular season, the Mustangs (16-17 GSAC, 24-23 overall) trail sixth-place Azusa Pacific by one game. The top six finishers qualify for the conference tournament starting next week.
Meanwhile, the Eagles, vying for the GSAC's top spot with California Baptist, wasted little time, scoring twice off Mustang starter Charlie Gillies in the bottom of the first.
The Mustangs halved the deficit in the top of the second when Chris Talley lined a leadoff double down the right field line, moved to third on a groundout, and scored on Bryan Lucas' single to center field.
But, that was just the calm before the storm as the Eagles erupted in the bottom of the frame to take a commanding 12-1 lead. Gillies (6-5) took the brunt of the attack and was chased with two outs in the frame. The junior righthander gave up nine runs, all earned, on seven hits.
The Mustangs never recovered but they did manage to string together three consecutive scoring frames, starting in the fifth. Tanner Leighton led off that inning with a single through the left side, proceeded to steal second and third base, and scored on Spencer Downs' groundout.
An inning later, Lucas made it 16-3 (Biola had scored four more runs in the bottom of the fifth) with one swing of the bat, clubbing his fourth home run of the year over the fence in right center field.
They closed out the afternoon's scoring in the seventh when Downs led off with a single up the middle, raced to third on Talley's base hit to left field, and kept on going to the plate when Biola's leftfielder committed an error.
Although they were outscored by 12 runs, the Mustangs finished with 14 hits. Talley led the way with three hits while Leighton, Downs, and Lucas had two apiece.
Both clubs will be back in La Mirada on Thursday to play game two of the series. The first pitch is scheduled for 3:00pm.