May 7, 2017
Redwood City, Calif. -- Julian Jarrard's tie-breaking solo home run in the top of the eighth inning sparked a three-run frame and fifth-seeded and host Menlo used that to beat The Master's University 7-4 in a GSAC Tournament first-round game Sunday morning on the San Francisco Peninsula.
The loss dropped the Mustangs (30-21) into the losers' bracket of the double-elimination tourney where they'll play Biola in an elimination game Monday morning.
Jarrard's 20th home run of the year snapped a 4-4 tie and put the Oaks ahead for the first time. His teammates made sure the lead would be permanent, scoring twice more in the eighth on a couple of rbi singles to provide insurance that wasn't needed.
The Mustangs, who scored just once after the first inning, went down in order in their final two at-bats to put an end to a game that had started with so much promise.
Billed as a pitchers' duel between the GSAC's top two pitchers with the same last names, TMU's Aaron Alexander and Menlo's Jason Alexander, the game never fulfilled that expectation as both offenses had similar success against the others' pitching.
The Mustangs struck first against Jason Alexander in their initial at-bat, strafing the GSAC Pitcher of the Year for three runs on four hits in the last of the first inning. As he had done all season long, Max Maitland fueled the frame with a leadoff walk. Moments later, the All-GSAC centerfielder trotted around the bases after all-conference teammate Jonah Jarrard hammered a Jason Alexander offering over the left field fence for a 2-0 lead. It was his eighth roundtripper of the season.
One out later, Aaron Shackelford took Alexander deep again, taking a pitch over the fence for his club-high 14th homer of the year.
That three-run lead stayed intact until the top of the third when the Oaks parlayed a leadoff double and two groundouts into a run that sliced the TMU advantage to 3-1.
However, the Mustangs got that one back in the last half of the third as a Jason Karkenny groundout plated Shackelford, who had reached on a fielder's choice earlier in the inning.
The Oaks answered quickly in the top of the fourth when GSAC Player of the Year Jordan Getzelman swatted an Aaron Alexander pitch over the fence in right field to halve the deficit. It was Getzelman's GSAC-leading 26th homer of the season.
This time there would be no response from the Mustangs and there wouldn't be for the rest of the game. Jason Alexander blanked TMU through the rest of his seven-inning stint and wound up allowing all of the Mustangs' runs on eight hits while striking out five en route to his ninth victory (9-2) of the year. All-GSAC reliever Kevin George was dominant over the final two innings, retiring all six Mustangs he faced, four of them by strikeout as he notched his seventh save of the campaign.
The Oaks, though, were not done. They got to Aaron Alexander for the tying runs in the top of the fifth, using an rbi single and a sacrifice fly to draw even at 4-4.
Alexander regained his composure over the next two innings but the eighth proved to be his undoing. The senior righthander was charged with a season-high-tying seven runs on nine hits while falling to 9-4.
Meanwhile, the TMU offense went into hibernation over the final six innings, managing just one hit during that span. Maitland and David Sheaffer had two hits apiece as the Mustangs rapped out eight during the morning.
Now, it's must-win for the Mustangs on Monday when they face second-seeded Biola. The Mustangs and Eagles met three times during the regular season with Biola winning two of three.
Tomorrow's game starts at 9:00am with the winner moving on to a 3:00pm matchup with Menlo, which lost to top-seeded Hope International after beating the Mustangs. The loser's season comes to an end.