Mustangs Drop GSAC Opener At Concordia

January 23, 2015

Irvine, Calif. -- Steve Karkenny homered and drove in three runs but The Master's College couldn't overcome an early deficit and fell to Concordia 7-5 in the GSAC opener for both clubs Friday afternoon.

In an early-season showdown of nationally-ranked squads, the 18th-ranked Eagles drew first blood, parlaying a single, an error, and two fielders' choices into a first-inning, unearned run off Mustang starter Jason Karkenny (Chatsworth, CA).

It didn't take long for the No. 20 Mustangs (1-1, 0-1 GSAC) to respond, using a couple of two-base hits in the top of the second to even up the score.  With one out, Tyler Krahn (Abbotsford, BC, Canada), who had three hits on the afternoon, doubled to center field during a play on which Nick Covello (Skillman, NJ), who had singled to lead off the frame, was thrown out at the plate.  However, the Mustangs still managed to score when Krahn advanced to third base on a passed ball and trotted home on Josh Brown's (Valencia, CA) left-field double.

It stayed tied until the last of the third when the Eagles moved ahead 2-1, using a leadoff walk, a sacrifice bunt, and a single through the left side.

Then, an inning later, the Eagles created some separation, tagging Jason Karkenny (0-1) for three runs on four hits and using another Mustang error to open up a 5-1 lead.

The Mustangs got one of those runs back in the top of the fifth and could have had a whole lot more.  They loaded the bases with no outs when Bryce Clancy (Phoenix, AZ) and Sam Robison (San Juan Capistrano, CA) sandwiched walks around a David Sheaffer (Mt. Airy, NC) infield single.  Steve Karkenny's sacrifice fly to center field plated Clancy while Sheaffer and Robison each moved up 90 feet.  However, both of those runners were stranded when Concordia starter Spencer Moran struck out Dewey Dovel (Aurora, TX) and Covello, leaving the Mustangs behind 5-2.

As so often happens, that inability to get the big hit came back to haunt the Mustangs as the Eagles dented the scoreboard in the sixth, nicking reliever Hunter Totemeier (Santa Ynez, CA) for two runs, both scoring with two outs.

The Mustang offense, which produced eight hits, had no immediate answer, going silent in the seventh and eighth innings, when they went in order in each of those frames.

However, that same offense came alive in the top of the ninth, making the Eagles and their fans a little nervous.  The Mustangs' three-run rally started in quirky fashion when Brown struck out but reached on a third-strike wild pitch and then raced to second base.  Two outs later, Robison brought Brown home with an infield single and promptly stole second base.  Then, Steve Karkenny stepped to the plate and walloped his first home run of the year, a two-run shot over the fence in left field, cutting the deficit to 7-5.  That's where the rally ended, though, as a game-ending strikeout ended the club's comeback chances.

The Mustangs get another shot at the Eagles and their first conference win on Saturday when the three-game weekend series continues with a doubleheader that starts at 11:00am.