May 8, 2011
SAN DIEGO, Calif.- It was a back-and-forth Mother's Day marathon at Cunningham Stadium on Sunday afternoon, but the University of San Diego baseball team prevailed with a 12-8 victory over the San Francisco Dons. With the win, the Toreros (17-27, 8-7 WCC) climb above .500 in West Coast Conference action on the year and snap the Dons' (25-22, 11-4 WCC) streak of three-straight WCC series wins in which USF had swept their conference opponents in all three of those series.
In a game that took two hours just to finish four innings of play, the Dons started things by putting up three runs in the first inning. After USD starter Darrin Campbell got center fielder Pete Lavin to fly out to open the contest, Dons right fielder Connor Bernatz took Campbell deep to left field for his second home run of the year, putting USF up 1-0 early. Campbell was relieved by left hander Max MacNabb after walking the next hitter and allowing a double to designated hitter Travis Higgs. Left fielder Ted LeMasters would eventually drive a single through the right side that scored two Don runners, giving USF a 3-0 advantage.
In the bottom half of the first, center fielder Kevin Muno, who is approaching the USD career steals record, swiped second and third after walking to leadoff the inning. Third baseman Kris Bryant drove Muno in with a sacrifice fly to center field that put the score at 3-1 in favor of San Francisco.
In the top of the third, USF tacked on another run with an RBI double by LeMasters down the right field line that scored first baseman Nik Balog, who had doubled and advanced to third on a passed ball earlier in the inning.
The Dons would add another run in the fourth when they got back-to-back doubles from Lavin and Bernatz, putting them up 5-1.
USD would answer, however, as they exploded in the bottom of the fifth to take a 6-5 lead, one of three lead changes in the game. The Toreros reached base with their first three hitters on a walk, hit by pitch and walk, respectively, that ended USF starter Jordan Remer's outing after 3.0 innings. When right hander Cameron Love came out of the bullpen for the Dons, pinch hitter Dillon Checkal drew an RBI walk that made the score 5-2.
Muno then came up with a rope to left field that drove in a run and chased Love from the game. Against new USF pitcher Elliott Waterman, first baseman Bryan Haar picked up another USD run with a sacrifice fly to center field that plated shortstop Julian Duran and cut the Toreros' deficit to one at 5-4. Then catcher Zack Kometani grabbed the lead with his two-out, two-run triple that skipped past a diving Bernatz in right field.
The lead would be short-lived, however, as the Dons came back in the top of the sixth with a run on a solo home run from LeMasters, his third of the season, off Torero reliever Michael Wagner, tying the game at 6-6. In the top of the sixth, USF got runners on second and third with one out after a sacrifice bunt from Higgs. After Balog was intentionally walked by USD left hander Paul Paez, second baseman Jason Mahood drove in two runs with a single to right centerfield that put USF up 8-6. Paez managed to work out of the jam when he got LeMasters to strike out and Kometani caught Balog trying to steal third on the play.
Not to be outdone, the Toreros bounced right back by posting two runs of their own in the bottom of the sixth on a monster, two-out home run to right center fielder by Bryant, his team-leading eighth of the year.
With the score knotted at eight heading into the bottom of the eighth, Bryant again delivered with an RBI double that barely stayed fair as it bounced past third base and into the left field corner, scoring pinch runner Cody Lewis and putting the Toreros up 9-8. Kometani would come up next and drop a soft blooper in front of Lavin in centerfield that brought home two more USD runs and increased the Torero lead to 11-8.
Left fielder Corey LeVier, who earlier in the game extended his hitting streak to 10 games, singled to left center, putting runners on first and second with one out. After right fielder Scott Schauer reached on a fielder's choice, the Toreros had runners on first and third with two down, whereupon Kometani would score on a passed ball that would turn out to be the final run of the day as left hander James Pazos came in to close out in the bottom of the ninth.
Kometani led the Toreros with a 3-for-5 day at the plate and four RBI, while Bryant also drove in four with his two extra base hits, including the home run. Altogether five Toreros collected at least two hits on the day. The Dons got a 3-for-5 day from Lavin and 3-for-4 effort from LeMasters, who drove in four runs.
Paez (6-4) picked up his team-leading sixth win after throwing 3.1 innings in relief, allowing two runs on three hits, while striking out two and walking three. Waterman (6-1) was saddled with his first loss of the season as he tallied 4.0 innings pitched in which he allowed four runs on six hits with four strikeouts and a walk.
USD returns to action on Tuesday, May 10th when they host UC Riverside in non-conference action from Cunningham Stadium at 3:00 p.m.
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