|Adams, Gillies Cage Lions|
J. T. Adams drove in three runs and Charlie Gillies tossed eight strong innings to lead The Master’s College past Vanguard 7-2 on a cold, wet Wednesday afternoon in Santa Clarita.
The victory was the Mustangs’ fifth in a row (12-4, 3-0) and third straight to start GSAC play.
Gillies, who chalked up his team-best fourth win (4-1), wiggled out of a first-inning jam and then proceeded to blank the Lions through the first five frames. In that span, he allowed just one hit, struck out six, and retired nine batters along the way.
Meanwhile, his teammates started fast and never let up, giving the junior righthander plenty of support. In the bottom of the first, Tanner Leighton led off with a single through the left side, stole second and third bases, respectively, and scored on Adams’ clutch, two-out single up the middle.
An inning later, the Mustangs moved ahead 2-0 when, with one out, Bryan Lucas was hit by a pitch and courtesy runner James Sloan scored on Parker Price’s one-out double to left field.
In the third, they continued their score every inning habit, but this time they put up a three-spot, courtesy of a couple of extra-base hits, to take a commanding 5-0 lead. Jared Otto earned a leadoff walk and then trotted home when Adams hammered a pitch over the right-field fence for his club-leading fifth home run of the year. Joe Riddle followed with a single and then raced home when Ben Ives lined a triple to the gap in right-center field for the five-run cushion.
The Mustangs scoring streak came to an end in the fourth but an inning later, they extended the advantage to 6-0 and Adams led the way. He ripped a leadoff double to left-center and two outs later scored when Bryan Lucas laced a two-bagger to the right-center field alley.
The Lions finally broke through against Gillies in the sixth, using a single and a double to put up a run. However, the Mustangs countered in the bottom of the frame, tacking on their final tally of the afternoon. Freshman Cody Harris led off with a single up the middle, Leighton chased him to third with a double to left field, and he scored from there on Otto’s sacrifice fly to right field.
Gillies worked out of a tough situation in the seventh, stranding a pair of Lions, and then closed out his season-best stint with a 1-2-3 eighth inning. He allowed just four hits and struck out a season-high nine batters. The Lions managed to score one more run in the ninth off reliever James Scott but it was nowhere close to a sustained threat.
Adams’s 3-4, three-rbi performance paced the Mustangs, who collected 12 hits. Leighton, whose two stolen bases give him a team-high 15 on the season, had two more hits and is now batting a gaudy .455. Ives, who pilfered his 12th base of the season in the seventh inning, had two hits, too.
The club won’t have much time to enjoy the victory as they face the Lions again on Thursday. The first pitch is scheduled for 2:00pm on Reese Field.