Extra Work Goes For Naught
April 4, 2014
Costa Mesa, CA -- The Master's College lost more than just a baseball game Friday afternoon at Vanguard.
TMC conceded more ground in the GSAC race when a run-scoring groundout in the 11th inning lifted the No. 25 Lions to a 3-2 victory that vaulted them over the Mustangs and into third place in conference play. The 12th-ranked Mustangs (29-11 overall, 17-11 GSAC) now trail first-place San Diego Christian by 1 1/2 games and Concordia and Vanguard by half a game.
In sending the Mustangs to their first extra-inning defeat (2-1) of the season, the Lions managed to do what no other team had been able to do in 2014: score a run against reliever Steven Karkenny (Chatsworth, CA). The All-American outfielder has developed into one of the premier relievers in the country, entering the game unscored on in 19 2/3 innings of work with a spotless earned-run average and five saves.
The junior righthander tacked on two and two-thirds more innings of runless relief before the Lions nicked him with the deciding run that dropped his record to 2-1. Vanguard's Brandon Sandoval led off the last of the 11th inning with a base hit, stole second base, and moved to on a groundout. Karkenny issued a pair of intentional walks, setting up a force play at any base and, hopefully, an inning-ending double play.
It never happened as Taylor McKnight's grounder to second base was fielded by Sam Robison (San Juan Capistrano, CA) who was unable to get the force at the plate or a double play.
The game-winning run snapped an eight-inning scoring drought for the Lions who had leapt ahead with two runs in the second against Mustang starter Andrew Klausmeier (Northridge, CA). They used a trio of singles, a sacrifice bunt, and a walk to take a 2-0 lead.
After stranding at least one runner on base in each of the first four innings, the Mustangs finally broke through against Scott Torrey in the fifth, tying the game with one swing of the bat. Robison reached on a fielder's choice, swiped second base, moved to third on the front end of a failed double steal, and trotted home ahead of Karkenny's two-out, two-run homer. It was Karkenny's team-leading fourth roundtripper of the campaign.
Much of the Mustang offense went with Karkenny's blast as they managed just two hits over the next six innings. They did load the bases in the top of the tenth, courtesy of a Lion error and two free passes, but a strikeout ended the threat.
Brazil (2-5) was one of three Mustangs with at least two hits as they outhit the Lions 8-7. Karkenny and Ryan Shackelford (Murrieta, CA) were the other two, going 2-4 and 2-5, respectively.
Klausmeier wound up going eight innings for the second time in 2014, giving up six hits and striking out three in his fourth no-decision of the season.
The Mustangs and the Lions return to the diamond on Saturday as they tangle in a key doubleheader that starts at noon in Costa Mesa.