Errors Hurt Kingsmen in Regional Opener
CLU falls 1-0 to Trinity
AUSTIN, Tex. –In the first meeting between No. 5 Cal Lutheran and No. 3 Trinity (Tex.) the outcome was not exactly one that the second-seeded Kingsmen had hoped to open the NCAA Division III West Regional with. A tough 1-0 loss on an unearned run was the entire scoring of the day and unfortunately the run that crossed the plate came from the fifth-seeded Tigers.
The lone run in a pitcher’s duel was scored in the top of the seventh inning in a scoreless game. A routine double to left field turned into a disastrous play for the Kingsmen who committed a pair of errors, allowing Kelly Woodruff to dive home with the winning run.
Trinity starting pitcher Ryan Lucero (10-1) threw a 107-pitch complete game, striking out seven, while the Kingsmen collected just six hits. CLU starter Jake Petersen (7-2) was tagged with the loss after throwing 109 pitches over 8.1 innings, striking out one and allowing no earned runs on seven hits. Cal Lutheran closer Aaron Roth got the final two outs of the ninth with a fly ball and strike out on a full count after TU leadoff man Connor Moore fouled off a number of pitches. Eleven of his 16 pitches were for strikes today.
The Kingsmen were able to get the leadoff man on base in the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh innings, but were unable to find a rhythm or gain momentum.
The six Cal Lutheran hits came from six different players. Nick DeLorenzo collected the first base knock of the game with one out in the bottom of the second inning, but was picked off before the inning ended. Spencer DuBois singled with two outs in the third. To start the bottom of the fourth Nicho DellaValle nearly took off Lucero’s head with a line drive up the middle. Ramsey Abushahla doubled to right to lead off the fifth and set up the Kingsmen for a big inning, but he was called out on a close play at third trying to stretch the two-bagger into a triple. Garrett Smith hit a single up the middle to start the sixth but was caught trying to steal on another close call on the bases. Trevor Koons singled as the first man up in the seventh and moved to second on a throwing error. He advanced 90 feet on a ground ball to the right side, but was stranded on third.
Petersen retired the first seven batters he faced. After a walk in the third, an uncharacteristic error from Nick Boggan on a throw to second on a fielder’s choice allowed Woodruff to reach and put runners at first and second. A single from Moore loaded the bases and Boggan bounced back with a heads up 3-2 putout to DuBois to eliminate the lead runner for the second out of the inning at the plate. Petersen forced a fly ball to left field to end the frame with the bases loaded.
In the sixth, CLU got out of another jam. Back-to-back hits led off the inning. A fly ball to shallow right field dropped just in front of Abushahla, who fired a strike to DuBois, who did a phenomenal job of blocking the plate, to throw out the lead runner and keep the game scoreless.
DuBois also threw out Kevin Clements trying to steal third in the top of the seventh inning. With one on in the ninth and no one out, DuBois fielded a sacrifice bunt and threw out the lead runner on another great defensive play by the sophomore backstop.
Cal Lutheran (34-8-1) will play Texas Lutheran (33-13) tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. CST in the Second Round of the NCAA West Regional tournament in an elimination game. TLU is playing in its fourth NCAA Division III Baseball Championship and was the West Region runner-up in both 2005 and 2006. Today they lost to Linfield 2-0 in the opening game of the tournament. Live Stats will be available for the game.