Running into another hot pitcher, The Master’s College fell to third-ranked California Baptist 8-2 Wednesday afternoon in Riverside.
The defeat was the Mustangs’ 10th in their last 12 outings and kept them in seventh place in the GSAC with a 5-10 record (14-14 overall).
During that 12-game stretch, dating back to March 3, the Mustangs have scored two or fewer runs seven times while their opponents are averaging nearly eight runs per game.
That held true to form on Wednesday when Lancer starter Taylor Siemens pitched seven strong innings, striking out five while allowing eight hits and two earned runs.
His counterpart, Charlie Gillies, had it much worse, working six innings and allowing five earned runs to fall to 4-4.
The Mustangs had a golden opportunity right out of the chute, loading the bases on a walk and two Lancer errors in the top of the first, but Siemens got out of it by inducing an inning-ending groundout.
On the other hand, the Lancers didn’t waste their opportunity in the bottom of the frame, using a single, a hit batsman, a sacrifice fly, and a balk to score two runs.
The Mustangs halved that deficit in the top of the third, scoring a run after two were out. Chris Talley ignited the rally with a single to right field, Jared Otto followed with a base hit to left center field, and Joe Riddle made it a 2-1 game with a single through the right side. But, on a day when the Mustangs left eight runners on the bases, they stranded two more.
In the bottom of the third, the Lancers struck again, parlaying a pair of doubles, a passed ball, and a walk into two more runs and a 4-1 advantage. They scored again in the bottom of the fourth, aided by a Mustang error, on a sacrifice fly for a four-run margin.
The Mustangs got that one back in the top of the fifth, almost single-handedly by Tanner Leighton. The sophomore shortstop led off with an infield single, stole second base, advanced to third on a groundout, and came across on Talley’s sacrifice fly to center field.
But, the Mustangs couldn’t make any further inroads, never scoring again while the Lancers tallied three more runs, two of those in the bottom of the eighth to close out their six-run win.
Outhit just 9-8, the Mustangs were led by Cody Harris’ two hits.
It will be a quick turnaround for both clubs as they meet again Thursday afternoon in Riverside.