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College baseball: Bittersweet finish

TMC manages one win to finish of four-game series

Posted: April 22, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 22, 2012 1:55 a.m.

The Master’s College second baseman Sam Robison tags out Concodia University’s Aaron Gates as he tries to steal second base on Saturday at Reese Field.

After being humbled on the road earlier this week with two losses to Concordia, The Master’s College baseball team needed a boost from its starting pitchers to slow down the Eagles’ offense on Saturday at Reese Field.

And the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics No. 16 Mustangs got just that from starting pitchers Charlie Gillies and A.J. Work, but more offensive struggles meant they were only able to salvage one win as TMC lost game one of the doubleheader 3-2 before bouncing back to win the second game 2-1 in seven innings.

The Mustangs (31-18 overall, 16-15 Golden State Athletic Conference) spoiled Gillies’ seven inning, five strikeout performance in the first game, as they took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the sixth on Tanner Leighton’s RBI double to right field that scored Jonathan Popadics to tie the game. Leighton later came around to score on an RBI single by Spencer Downs.

But the Mustangs stranded two on base to settle for just the two runs.

“We’re getting hits, but we’re having trouble getting them in the same inning,” said TMC head coach Monte Brooks of the eight hits that were mostly scattered throughout the first game.

That proved costly, as the Eagles Chris Kuber and Spencer Ofelt reached on RBI singles to score the eventual game-winners in the top of the seventh.

“That’s one of the best offenses,” Brooks said of NAIA 12th-ranked Concordia. “(A.J. Work) and Charlie were just big-game guys, but Charlie hasn’t had run support. We haven’t scored for him.”

Work, on the other hand, got just enough in the way of runs to help TMC salvage one game of what was a four-game series this week.

The Mustangs took a two-run lead in the fourth inning of game two on a solo home run by Chris Talley to leadoff the inning, and an RBI single by Cody Harris.

The damage could have been more, but Caleb Halverson was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.

“Their defense is really good,” Brooks said. “We felt like we had to be aggressive and the shortstop threw us out on big, big plays.”

Concordia (30-15, 19-9) tried to rally in the top of the sixth when Kyle Konicek knocked in Tony Harkey, Jr. with a sacrifice fly.

But Work settled in to strike out Aaron Gates to preserve the lead.

With the one win, The Master’s sits in fourth place, 1 1/2 games back of Biola for third place in the conference.



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