|One Is The Loneliest Number|
For the second time in as many days, The Master’s College was held to just one run by Fresno Pacific and the Mustangs fell to the 15th-ranked Sunbirds 5-1 Thursday afternoon.
The loss was the Mustangs’ third in their past four outings and dropped them to 4-3 in the GSAC and 13-8 overall.
After getting beat 8-1 Wednesday evening in a dominating performance by Sunbird starter Jesse Darrah, the Mustangs fell victim to another pitching gem, this one from Matt Mazzoni. The junior righthander tossed eight innings of five-hit, shutout ball, allowing just five hits while striking out five Mustangs.
The Mustangs’ lone run came in the top of the ninth but by then the Sunbirds were comfortably en route to their 12th win (12-8 overall, 6-4 GSAC) of the year.
Their comfort zone was engaged initially in the fourth when they used four hits off Mustang starter Tyler Bersano to score three runs. Up to that point, the senior righthander had not allowed a hit and had wiggled out of a jam in the second, stranding a pair of runners.
But, in the fourth, the Sunbirds parlayed three doubles and a single into a 3-0 lead. Four innings later, the hosts took advantage of two Mustang errors and with the help of their fifth two-bagger of the evening, they pushed the advantage to 5-0.
Although he gave the Mustangs a couple of chances to score, Mazzoni was recording gooseggs and getting stronger as the game went along.
The Mustangs’ best chance against Mazzoni came in the fourth when they had runners at second and third with two outs but Bryan Lucas’ grounder back to the mound ended that threat.
After that, Mazzoni put together three straight 1-2-3 innings and retired 12 Mustangs in a row in a stretch from the fourth through the eighth innings.
Mazzoni turned the ball over to his bullpen mates in the ninth and that’s when the Mustangs finally broke through.
Jared Otto and Chris Talley drew walks to lead off the frame and after J. T. Adams reached on a fielder’s choice, Otto scored on a throwing error by the Sunbird first baseman. Again, the Mustangs had runners at the corners and this time with no one out. But Sunbird reliever Aaron Kirkpatrick struck out Joe Riddle and then got Ives to ground into a game-ending double play.
The Mustangs had just five hits and two of those came from Talley.
Going 0-2 in the Central Valley, the Mustangs hope to turn things around on Saturday when they host the Sunbirds in a doubleheader that starts at 11:00am on Reese Field.