Gillies, Sheaffer Pitch Mustangs to Sweep
March 31st, 2012
SANTA CLARITA, Calif — Struggling to score runs of late, The Master’s College needed big games out of its starting pitchers Saturday and both Charlie Gillies and Daniel Sheaffer answered the call. Gillies and Sheaffer, two pitchers with two very different styles, were both very effective leading the Mustangs to 1-0 and 3-1 wins, respectively.
Gillies, a strikeout/groundball power pitcher, absolutely dominated game one, striking out 16 batters while giving up only one hit and walking none. Westmont third baseman David Gabel was the only Warrior to reach base, doubling to right center field in the eighth inning and breaking up Gillies’ perfect -game attempt in the process.
Gillies had both his two-seam fastball and curveball working all day, getting ahead of hitters early in the count and then burying the fastball in on their hands or fooling them with the “Uncle Charlie”. It looked as though Gillies had given up a homerun in the 8th as Timothy Leary laced a ball to deep right, but freshman right fielder Steven Karkenny came up with a great grab at the wall. That deep drive was really the only anxiety Gillies gave the Mustang faithful all day.
The Mustangs’ lone run came in the bottom of the eighth as Bryan Lucas singled, was bunted to second by James Sloan, and then with two outs was driven home on an opposite-field single by left fielder Caleb Halverson. On the scoring play, Lucas ran right through the stop sign at third base and slid in safe at home just out of the reach of Westmont’s diving catcher. That run would hold up as Gillies completely shut down the Warriors, who were kept in the game by a solid outing from Leary who went eight innings while allowing only the one run.
The Mustang’ who have infused their lineup with younger players of late have seen early returns, as Halverson, a freshman, was a combined 3-5 in the two games. Halverson’s speed was evidenced by his infield and bunt base hits but it was his go-ahead single in game one that sent Mustang fans to lunch happy. Following the game, he said, “I was seeing the ball well, looking for a ball to drive and he threw me exactly what I was looking for.” Freshman second baseman Sam Robison also contributed both defensively and at the plate, going 2-6 with a double. With the 1-0 win, Gillies improved to 6-4 on the season and with the 16 strikeouts now has 87 on the season in only 74 innings of work. The Mustangs have not had a GSAC hitter or pitcher of the week in almost three years but it seems safe to say that Gillies should not only be GSAC Pitcher of the Week, but NAIA Pitcher of the Week.
As already alluded to, Daniel Sheaffer’s pitching style is a complete contrast to Gillies’. Sheaffer is all about keeping hitters off balance and locating his pitches. He did just that, getting batters to fly out all afternoon by mixing speeds and changing locations. Westmont’s only run of the afternoon came on a Leary home run to left field, his 13th of the season.
Spencer Downs led off the third with a triple to deep right centerfield and was driven in on a sacrifice fly by freshman shortstop Jon Popadics. The Mustangs struck again in the fifth as a Halverson bunt single was followed by a Downs’ double that the centerfielder lost in the hazy white sky, advancing Halverson to third. Cody Harris then came through in the clutch with a sharply hit two-run single, putting TMC up 3-1. That score would hold as Sheaffer (4-2) would give way to Tommie Kister in the seventh for the two- out save, the sophomore’s third of the season.
The two-game sweep improves the Mustangs to 23-14 on the season and 12-11 in conference play while the loss drops Westmont to 17-18-1 overall, and 8-12 in GSAC play. The Mustangs will be back in action Monday as they play a make-up game with NAIA #5 Azusa Pacific at Reese Field. Start time is 3:00 pm.