Long Ball Dooms Gillies, Mustangs
March 19, 2012
Photos Courtesy of Tony Berru
Santa Clarita, CALIF -- Jordan Leyland hit a three-run home run in the top of the eighth inning to lift Azusa Pacific past The Master’s College 4-3 on a cool, windy Monday afternoon in Placerita Canyon.
Leyland’s blast over the right field fence capped a rally that sent the GSAC’s first-place team (10-1) by the Mustangs (9-6 GSAC, 20-9 overall) for the third straight time in a game that was originally scheduled as part of a doubleheader on Saturday. Inclement weather postponed that twinbill, turning Monday’s and April 2nd’s meeting between the two squads into single games.
Until that point in the game, the offensive-minded Cougars had done little against Mustang ace Charlie Gillies. The senior righthander (5-3) had two-hit the visitors through the first seven frames, striking out eight batters while giving up a run in the fourth inning.
That tally knotted the game after the Mustangs put a run on the board in their initial at-bat, scoring with some small ball and without the benefit of a hit. Tanner Leighton worked a leadoff walk, pilfered second and third bases, and scored on Chris Talley’s groundout.
The 1-0 lead held up through the first three innings as Gillies whiffed five Cougars and retired seven consecutive batters at one point.
Following Johnathan Erb’s two-out, game-tying double in the fourth, the game remained deadlocked until the bottom of the fifth when the Mustangs edged ahead on a Bryan Lucas leadoff triple and Spencer Toth’s rbi groundout.
After Gillies worked out of a two-on jam in the seventh, the Mustangs doubled their advantage in the bottom of the inning, giving their teammate more to work with.
Once again, Lucas ignited the frame, rapping a leadoff single through the left side. Caleb Halvorson took the senior catcher’s place on the basepaths and stole second base one out later, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and scored on Leighton’s clutch, two-out base hit through the left side. The Mustangs could have had a lot more but left the bases filled.
That came back to bite them a half inning later when Gillies gave up a leadoff single, a one-out walk, and Leyland’s roundtripper, vaulting the Cougars in front to stay.
Unfortunately, the Mustangs, who outhit the Cougars 7-4, had no answer as APU relievers Colby Gurney and Alan Garcia combined to retire the final seven batters they faced.
Four of those hits came off the bats of Leighton and Lucas who had two hits apiece.
Now, the Mustangs turn their attention to a four-game series with Biola later this week. The 10th-ranked Eagles invade Santa Clarita for single games on Thursday and Friday before the clubs play a doubleheader in La Mirada on Saturday.