Westmont Errs, Mustangs Win
March 29, 2012
SANTA BARBARA, Calif-- Capitalizing on two Westmont errors and the sparkling pitching of A. J. Work, The Master’s College put a stop to its seven-game losing skid Thursday afternoon, beating the Warriors 3-1 in Santa Barbara.
The GSAC win was the Mustangs’ first since March 10 and lifted them back to the .500 mark (10-10 GSAC, 21-13 overall) in conference play where they have fourth place to themselves.
That only came about because of another strong performance on the mound by Work and Westmont’s late miscues.
Work went seven innings and gave up no earned runs, striking out three and allowing six hits. The junior lefthander blanked the Warriors through the first four frames on just two hits. However, in the bottom of the fifth, his defense betrayed him, turning a simple sacrifice bunt into an error that eventually led to the first run (unearned) of the game.
That threatened to make his sterling effort all for naught while putting him in position to lose, especially the way his counterpart Daniel Cabuling was throwing. The Westmont starter shut out the Mustangs through the first six frames on just three hits and he helped himself immensely in the top of the third when he foiled Tanner Leighton’s attempted steal of home with a timely throw to the plate.
But, similar to Work’s situation two innings earlier, Cabuling’s defense let him down in the seventh and the Mustangs took decisive advantage.
Designated hitter Joe Riddle led off the inning with an infield single and raced to third when Sam Robison’s bunt attempt was misplayed by Westmont third baseman David Gabel. Moments later, Riddle crossed home plate with the tying run when Jonathan Popadics grounded out to second base. That moved Robison to third base from where he scored the go-ahead run on Leighton’s clutch two-out single through the left side.
The 2-1 advantage almost didn’t make it through the bottom of the frame as Work allowed a leadoff double to Mitch Petrak and then balked him to third base. But, Work went to work in what turned out to be his final inning, inducing three consecutive groundouts to get out of the jam and preserve the lead.
That missed opportunity and another error came back to bite the Warriors in the top of the eighth. With one out, Stephen Karkenny singled through the left side, swiped second base and kept going to third on an error by the Warrior catcher. Cody Harris walked to put runners on the corners and then Chris Talley hit a sacrifice fly to right field for a 3-1 lead.
With Work done for the day, closer Tommy Kister took over and the junior righthander fulfilled his role with two scoreless innings to record his second save of the season. He allowed a hit in the eighth and plunked a batter in the ninth but he stranded both runners.
Both clubs produced seven hits and the Mustangs were led by Leighton and Riddle with two apiece.
The Mustangs don’t have any time to revel in this win as they head to Santa Barbara again on Friday for another game with the Warriors before the clubs play a doubleheader on Saturday in Placerita Canyon.