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TMC splits with NAIA No. 3 team

Mustangs build lead in third, never look back

Posted: April 25, 2009 10:08 p.m.
Updated: April 26, 2009 4:55 a.m.

TMC's Michael Bando, center, celebrates with teammates after his two-run home run in the third inning against Point Loma Nazarene Saturday at TMC.

 
The Master’s College showed what it is capable of Saturday in the second game of a double header versus NAIA third-ranked Point Loma Nazarene.

The Mustangs took the back half of the twin bill 7-4 behind a strong performance from pitcher Joe Zeller, and back-to-back home runs from Micahel Bando and Pete Goeman in a four-run third inning.

“We always try to get a big inning in the middle of the game, and we got it today thanks to the long ball,” said The Master’s head coach Monte Brooks. “We’ve relied on the home run a lot this year, and it has been a great weapon for us. I was just pleased that we were able to get Joe some runs because we haven’t scored for him a lot this year.”

Bando broke a scoreless tie with a two-run bomb to center field with Ben Ives on base before Goeman pulled a shot over the right field fence to to make it a 3-0 game.

The Mustangs (33-17, 22-13) added their fourth run of the inning when Eric Blackwell chased Point Loma Nazarene starter Chad Blauer with a one-out RBI single.

“The Master’s is a very good team,” said Point Loma Nazarene head coach Joe Schaefer. “They can play with any team in our league, and today they proved that. When you have the pitchers they have in guys like Zeller and (Tim) Woodward, you know you can compete.”

The Sea Lions (34-11, 27-8) crept back into the game with a pair of runs on three hits in the fourth to cut the Mustangs’ lead in half.

“I struggled to throw strikes today,” Zeller said. “I was still able to get the job done, but it was a battle sometimes. Overall, it was good enough to win.”

The Master’s rebuilt its four run lead by pushing across a pair in the fifth. A two-out error by Sea Lion third baseman Wes Kartch, proved to be costly as both runs were unearned.

Tyler Diamond had the big hit of the inning knocking home two with a single.

“The fact that we were able to put some runs on the board was big because I think it let Zeller settle into his game and not worry too much about being too fine with his pitches,” Brooks said. “I think that we showed today that we have power everywhere in this order, and we can create offense at any time.”

The Mustangs also displayed their talent in the field, playing a nearly flawless game behind Zeller after dropping the opener 9-4.

Zeller also starred with the bat, knocking home the Mustangs’ seventh run with a two-out double in the sixth.

He then struck out the side amidst three singles and a hit batsman in the final frame to nail down the split against the top team in the Golden State Athletic Confernce.

“Any time we are on the road against a quality opponent, we’ll take the split,” Schaefer said. “We have already clinched the title so it can be tough to stay on top of our game, but we are focused on staying together as a team.”

The Master’s is still focused on punching its ticket to the NAIA tournament. A win on Tuesday in the regular season finale against Concordia, and a strong showing in the GSAC conference tournament could be crucial for Brooks’ club.

“Tuesday is going to be big for us,” Brooks said. “We know that if we get in the tournament then anything can happen.”

kdamore@the-signal.com

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