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No. 5 TMC baseball takes game one off Concordia

Mustangs get key conference win to open three-game set

Posted: March 27, 2013 8:47 p.m.
Updated: March 27, 2013 8:47 p.m.
 

IRVINE — The biggest roadblock between NAIA No. 5 The Master’s College baseball team and its first Golden State Athletic Conference championship since 2003 may be No. 13 Concordia University.

Jon Popadics helped distance TMC (27-9 overall, 19-6 GSAC) from the Eagles (24-11, 13-9) on Wednesday with a 7-5 win in the opening game of the teams’ three-game series.

Popadics, who was 0-for-4 to start off the game, put TMC ahead for good, hitting a two-RBI single with two outs in the eighth.

“I had four terrible at-bats,” said Popadics, “but I flushed all of it and luckily the pitcher hung a curveball and I got the barrel on it.”

Trailing 5-3 entering the eighth, the first two Mustang hitters flied out. TMC then strung together a walk and three hits to tie the game 5-5 before Popadics’ heroics.

“It’s a great victory for us beating a nationally ranked team who has been a powerhouse,” said Mustangs head coach Monte Brooks.

The win extends TMC’s conference lead to 4 1/2 games over the Eagles with 11 GSAC games to go. It is especially significant considering how tough Concordia is to beat at home, Brooks said, because of how conducive their hard playing surface is to their speed and ability to put the ball in play.

James Scott made his first start in 10 days for TMC on the mound and showed no rust in the early going, throwing three scoreless innings before a catcher’s interference and balk call led to two Concordia runs in the fourth.

The Mustangs scored a run in the fifth, sixth and seventh, pulling to within one run of the Eagles each time. Joe Riddle helped the cause with a seventh inning home run for TMC.

But each time, Concordia responded with a run of their own.

“We talked about being calm in the storm, and they were,” Brooks said of his teams’ resiliency.

TMC’s Tommy Kister pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth inning for the save.

Brooks wouldn’t speculate on what the win means going forward.

“Every game is significant,” he said. “We’re just taking it one pitch at a time.”

The Mustangs wrap up their three-game set against the Eagles with a doubleheader on Thursday.

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