|Doin’ The Splits In Costa Mesa|
Ben Ives ripped a go-ahead, two-run double in the top of the sixth inning and A. J. Work twirled a complete game as The Master’s College gained a split with Vanguard, winning the nightcap 5-3 after falling in the opener 5-1.
Splitting their second doubleheader of the season following three consecutive sweeps, the Mustangs are now 13-6 overall and 4-2 in the GSAC.
Ives’ no-out, two-bagger to left center field rallied the Mustangs from a 3-2 deficit and drove in both J. T. Adams, who had drawn a leadoff walk, and James Sloan, running for Joe Riddle following the freshman’s base hit to center field.
Work, making his first start since February 12, made that lead stand up but not without some heroics from his teammates in the bottom of the sixth. In that frame, the sophomore lefthander gave up a leadoff double to Eric Sanchez and two outs later surrendered what appeared to be a game-tying single to Brandon Pesante but Mustang leftfielder Chris Talley threw a strike to catcher Bryan Lucas, nabbing Sanchez at the plate to preserve the 4-3 lead.
Deciding that wasn’t enough of a margin, the Mustangs went out and collected some insurance in the top of the seventh and final inning. With one out, Jared Otto earned a walk and Talley slapped a single to left field. When Vanguard’s first baseman didn’t field the ball cleanly on the throw back into the infield, Otto raced to third base. That proved to be timely because Riddle then stepped to the plate and delivered a sacrifice fly to center field for a two-run advantage.
Work went back to the mound in the bottom of the seventh and this time he gave the Lions no hope, closing out his third win (3-1) of the campaign and second complete game with a 1-2-3 inning.
Earlier, the Lions had erased a 2-0 deficit, touching Work for single runs in each of the third, fourth, and fifth innings.
The Mustangs jumped out to that two-run advantage in the first inning. With one out, Otto doubled down the left field line and an out later, Adams singled him in with the game’s first run. Adams raced to second base on the throw to the plate and scored on Riddle’s infield single. The Mustangs had an opportunity for a huge inning but couldn’t take advantage of a Vanguard error and left runners at second and third.
The Mustangs managed just seven hits, three of those coming in the first and two more in the sixth. Riddle had two of those and added two rbi.
In the opener, the Mustangs had only six hits and never fully figured out Vanguard starter Gabriel Garcia. The junior lefthander went eight strong innings and struck out 10 Mustangs before handing the ball over to reliever Joseph Vega for a scoreless ninth.
His Mustang counterpart, Adams, didn’t do too badly, either, going six innings and allowing just one earned run. But, it was an unearned run in the top of the first that led to Adams’ first loss (1-1) of the campaign. With two outs, the Lions took advantage of two Mustangs errors sandwiched around a single to tally the game’s first run.
After Garcia blanked the Mustangs on one hit (their first after being no-hitted on Thursday) through three innings, he weakened for one frame and the visitors took advantage.
Talley led off the fourth with an infield single and moved to second when Garcia walked Adams. Sloan, running for Talley, swiped third base, putting runners at the corners. After Lucas struck out, Ives tied the game up, sending Sloan home with a single to center field. Matt Johnson, running for Adams, moved to second base but both he and Ives died on the bases when Riddle struck out and Ryan Shackelford lined out.
Adams, who kept his composure despite the first-inning miscues, blanked the Lions over the next three innings. But, in the fifth, they rapped out a pair of two-out hits, a double and then a run-scoring single to go ahead 2-1. They never trailed again.
The Mustangs tried to do something about that in the top of the sixth but came up empty, leaving the bases loaded.
An inning later, the Lions made them pay, parlaying two hits off reliever Tommy Kister, a stolen base, and a sacrifice fly, into a run and a 3-1 lead. They went after the freshman righthander again in the bottom of the eighth, scoring two more times on three hits to put the game away.
Talley and Ives were the only Mustangs with two hits.
Following a few days off, the Mustangs resume GSAC play on Wednesday at Fresno Pacific in the first of a four-game series.