The men’s baseball team avoided a sweep in Los Angeles last weekend facing the Loyola Marymount University Lions. Though they struggled during the doubleheader on Saturday, dropping both games, they finished strong with a high scoring, comeback victory on Sunday.
USF fought hard in game one, overcoming a three run deficit with three solo home runs late in the game. Two came in the sixth from sophomore Luke Keaschall and graduate student Gabe Giosso, and junior Michael Campagna’s first homer of the season tied the game in the seventh inning. Despite the effort, they couldn’t gain the lead, as LMU’s Owen Hackman pitched in relief and recorded two scoreless innings, three strikeouts, and the win once Robbie Ayers hit the game-winning RBI single in the ninth for Lions, sealing a 4-3 win over USF.
Struggles continued for the Dons in the second game of the doubleheader, where they came short 9-3 in a game where they trailed behind throughout. Things were competitive through the first three innings, as the Dons were able to hold the Lions to only a two run advantage with runs by senior Jordan Vujovich, sophomore Lane Oliphant, and Keaschall. LMU’s hitters were unrelenting early on, scoring nine runs through just the first five innings. USF was unable to respond as LMU’s Alex Burge followed up Jimmy Galicia’s already solid start on the mound with three shutout innings that included three strikeouts and only three hits.
Despite the two tough losses on Saturday, the Dons followed up on Sunday with a hard fought 13-12 victory, scoring five of their runs in the ninth inning. The game first appeared to be more of the same for USF, as they found themselves down 6-1 after Grant Weiss’ three-run homer in the second inning.
USF responded in the fourth with four runs of their own coming off a two RBI single by redshirt senior Nick Yovetich and a two RBI double by Keaschall. Although the Dons had closed their deficit to only one, LMU quickly answered back in the bottom half of the inning with a hit by pitch that walked in a run and a sacrifice fly, ending the fourth with a 8-5 lead for LMU.
The scoring continued for both teams as USF was able to score two runs in the fifth from yet another two RBI single by Yovetich, but LMU put up two runs of their own in the very next inning with solo home runs from Dylan Dennis and Devan Ornelas.
Both teams then traded runs in the eighth, leaving the score at 11-8 in LMU’s favor going into the ninth inning. Yovetich started off the scoring for the Dons in the ninth with another RBI single, leaving him with an impressive total of six RBIs on four hits. Senior Harris Williams III, Giosso, and sophomore Mario Demera then all followed Yovetich’s suit with three straight RBI singles of their own to take a 13-11 lead over the Lions going into the bottom of the ninth.
It took the combined efforts of freshman Adam Shew and graduate student Jonah Jenkins on the mound in the bottom of the ninth to hold LMU to only one run and secure the victory for the Dons.
Though this issue of the Foghorn will be sent to print before the Don’s next game on Tuesday, April 26, against Fresno State, like Sunday’s victory, the team hopes to find success in this game as well as when they return home to play BYU three days in a row starting on Thursday, April 28.