|Mustangs “Lope” By Grand Canyon|
The Master’s College scored three times in the top of the ninth inning and then held off Grand Canyon in the bottom of the frame to post a 9-7 win Saturday afternoon in Phoenix.
The victory, combined with Friday’s split of a doubleheader with Arizona Christian, gave the Mustangs two wins on their short, three-game road trip to the desert.
The Mustangs, who never trailed, were up 6-5 going to the ninth and looking for some insurance. They got it in the form of two, run-scoring singles and a wild pitch. Bryan Lucas drove in the first run, singling in Cody Harris, who had drawn a one-out walk. Later, James Sloan, running for Joe Riddle, crossed the plate on a wild pitch, and Jared Otto capped the uprising with an infield single that plated Lucas.
At least two of those runs were needed but three gave the Mustangs some breathing room as the Antelopes nicked reliever Daniel Sheaffer for two runs in the bottom of the ninth before he induced a game-ending double play for his first save of the season.
Not only did the Mustangs produce at the end they did so at the start, too, scoring in their first two at-bats.
In the first inning, Otto doubled to right field with one out and then trotted home when J. T. Adams swatted his second home run of the year over the right field fence. An inning later, the Mustangs went up 3-0 when Lucas singled with one out, stole second base, and scored ahead of Ben Ives’ two-out double to left.
The Mustangs enjoyed that three-run margin through the first three frames because senior righthander Tyler Bersano was blanking the Antelopes on three hits. His teammates gave him even more to work with in the fourth when they struck for two more runs and a 5-0 advantage.
Harris led off the inning with a double to left field, Riddle walked, and both moved up ninety feet on Lucas’ sacrifice bunt. Moments later, Bryan Mitchell brought both of them home with a single to center field.
The ‘Lopes finally figured out Bersano in the fourth, using a double, a balk, and an infield single to make it 5-1.
The Mustangs got that one back in the top of the fifth when Lucas’ two-out single plated Chris Talley who was at second base following a one-out double.
But, the 6-1 advantage started to disappear in the bottom of the fifth when Grand Canyon turned three hits and an error into three runs, slicing the deficit to two runs.
The lead became even more tenuous when the Mustangs went scoreless over the next three innings while the ‘Lopes closed the gap to just one run with a tally in the seventh.
Sheaffer relieved Bersano in the eighth and stilled the Antelope bats temporarily, retiring all three batters he faced.
But, that set the stage for a run-filled ninth after which the Mustangs were able to take a big breath and a victory back to Southern California.
Picking up his first win of the year, Bersano went seven innings and give up just two earned runs while striking out six.
He and Sheaffer got plenty of support from their teammates who rapped out 15 hits. Otto, Lucas, and Ives all had three hits to pace the attack.
The Mustangs resume play on Tuesday when they host Claremont in the first game of a nine-game homestand. The first pitch is set for 2:30pm on Reese Field.