April 23rd, 2012

Box Score:

COSTA MESA, Calif. -- Taking advantage of a crucial error, Vanguard erupted for nine runs in the sixth inning Monday afternoon and ran away from The Master’s College 11-3 in the Mustangs’ final GSAC game of the 2012 campaign.

The loss completed the second half of a scheduled April 14 doubleheader between the two clubs and dropped the Mustangs to 31-19 overall and 16-16 in the GSAC.  The Mustangs whipped the Lions 9-1 in the “first game” of the twinbill last Monday.

Currently, the Mustangs are all alone in fourth place but the conference’s other clubs have games later in the week that should determine TMC’s seeding for next week’s GSAC Tournament.

Through the first five innings, it appeared to be just another low-scoring game (2-2) that would be decided late.

But, that all changed in the bottom of the sixth when a one-out error by Mustang third baseman Cody Harris opened the floodgates for the Lions who poured through with nine runs, eight of those unearned, turning a deadlock into a rout.

A two-run double and two-run single were the big hits of the inning for the Lions but they also benefitted from a combination of walks, wild pitches by a trio of Mustang pitchers.

Reliever James Scott (5-5) took the brunt of the Lion assault, giving up eight of the runs (one earned) in just two-thirds of an inning.

There was no indication of what was to come early on, especially in the top of the first when the Mustangs struck for two runs.  Tanner Leighton led off with a single up the middle and moved to second base on Steven Karkenny’s bunt base hit.  One out later, Leighton swiped third base and scored on Chris Talley’s groundout.  With two outs, Joe Riddle slapped a single up the middle, plating Karkenny for a 2-0 lead.

The Lions halved the deficit in the bottom of the inning, nicking Mustang start Daniel Sheaffer for a run, using a leadoff double, a sacrifice bunt, and a sacrifice fly to get the job done.

It remained a 2-1 game until the third when the Lions produced three singles, the last of those coming with two outs to knot the contest.

Following the unfortunate turn of events in the sixth inning, the Mustangs added the game’s final run in the eighth when Bryan Lucas blasted his team-high eighth home run of the season over the left field fence.

Although GSAC play is now complete, the Mustangs still have two more regular-season games remaining, both of those coming in a doubleheader this Friday against La Sierra.  The first pitch will be thrown on Reese Field at 12:30.