Staving Off A Firestorm
April 11, 2014
Santa Clarita, CA -- Steve Karkenny hit a grand slam and Andrew Klausmeier tossed seven quality innings, sparking The Master's College past Arizona Christian 8-5 Friday afternoon on Reese Field.
The victory kept the 17th-ranked Mustangs 2 1/2 games back of first-place San Diego Christian which beat Vanguard earlier in the day and half a game ahead of the Lions and Concordia in the battle for the top seed in the GSAC Tournament that starts in three weeks.
Karkenny's (Chatsworth, CA) bases-loaded blast, the first of his career and his team-high fifth roundtripper of the season, capped off a decisive, five-run second inning that snapped a two-all tie and put the Mustangs ahead 7-2.
Jon Popadics' (Boise, ID) one-out, bases-loaded single in the second plated pinch-runner Tyler Krahn (Abbotsford, BC, Canada), who was running for Spencer Toth, (Asheville, NC) to put the Mustangs ahead for good. Then Karkenny stepped to the plate and walloped his grand slam, giving the Mustangs a comfortable five-run lead.
At the time, it was a a nice cushion that Klausmeier (Northridge, CA) needed after a rocky first frame in which he gave up two runs. After allowing a solo homer in the third, slicing the Mustang lead to 7-3, the righthander (4-2) embarked on a four-inning stretch in which he allowed just two hits and capped off his seven-inning stint by retiring nine of the last 10 batters he faced.
After leaving the mound for the last time, he helped himself and his teammates to reclaim a five-run lead in the bottom of the inning. Karkenny led off with a single to right-center field and raced to third base on Ryan Shackelford's (Murrieta, CA) base hit to left-center. Klausmeier followed with a sacrifice fly to center field that scored Karkenny with the Mustangs' final run of the afternoon.
Freshman Jason Karkenny (Chatsworth, CA) replaced Klausmeier in the top of the eighth and ran into trouble right away, allowing a lead-off double and a one-out, two-run homer to pull the Firestorm within three runs.
The righthander got into another jam in the top of the ninth, giving up consecutive singles to start the frame, before settling down to retire the final three batters and preserve the victory.
The Mustangs' first two runs of the afternoon were a rapid response to the Firestorm which had scored twice in their initial at-bat. In their half of the first with one out, Popadics doubled to left field, stole third base, and was joined on the bases by Karkenny who drew a walk. Shackelford then brought both of his teammates home with a line drive to the alley in right-center field for his team-high 17th double of the season.
The Mustangs' nine-hit attack was paced by Popadics, Karkenny, Shackelford, and Toth who had two hits apiece.
The club will need more of that on Saturday when it returns to Reese Field to face the Firestorm in a doubleheader. The first pitch will be thrown at noon.