April 26, 2008

Around the Bases

CBI Live
Matusz and Gelbrich lead No. 12 San Diego past LMU


By Abbey Mastracco



LINDA VISTA, Calif. — Brian Matusz proved too hot to handle Friday afternoon at Cunningham as San Diego extended its winning streak to 14 games in an 11-4 rout of West Coast Conference-rival Loyola Marymount.


The All-American right-hander Matusz pitched five shutout innings before allowing three unearned runs in the sixth. The Toreros (11-2, 33-11) have allowed just one earned run in four straight conference games, as Matt Thompson let just one cross the plate in the ninth.


“We’ve got a couple good little streaks,” said San Diego head coach Rich Hill. “Obviously, 14-games, school record is nice but we come out every day and say ‘We’re going to start a one-game streak today.’ I think that’s really been the key to our success, just really staying in the moment, really staying in the present.”  


Matusz was not as on point as usual, but made good work of LMU (5-8, 20-21), holding them to six hits and three unearned runs in seven innings. Matusz whiffed nine on the day, only fitting as he moved to 9-1 on the season. Andy Beal (4-5) was charged with the loss.


“I don’t [Matusz] was really sharp today,” Hill said. “We expected that at some point of the year.”


“My fastball was very good for the most part, I was able to locate it low all day,” Matusz said. “I just had that one rough inning.”


Matusz’s control did waver on his off-speed pitches, as he hit two batters with his curveball and left two up that resulted in doubles in the sixth.


“My curveball today — I didn’t finish it a few times,” Matusz said. “But that’s going to happen this late in the season.


The Toreros wasted no time getting on board taking two runs from Lion starter Andy Beal in the first and second and another pair in the fourth.


Down 6-0, the Lions managed to cut the Toreros’ lead in half midway through, but a pitching breakdown in the bottom of the sixth provided for a big, five-run inning for San Diego.


The Toreros batted around as they faced Beal, Chris Eusebio and Lee Roberts. Beal left the game with one-out and a runner on third, and Eusebio immediately hit Nick McCoy and missed a squeeze play that resulted in an RBI bunt single by Kevin Muno (2 for 5, two runs, two RBI). Eusebio then walked Sean Nichol (2 for 4, one run, two RBI) and a second base error allowed James Meador (two runs, one RBI) to reach on a fielder’s choice.


Roberts then came on the hill for the Lions and got the second out, but Logan Gelbrich (2 for 5, four RBI) got his second clutch two-out, two-RBI hit of the day as he sliced a blooper into right, capping off the five-run inning. Gelbrich’s hit gave the Toreros an 11-3 lead and eliminated LMU’s chances.


Despite the fact that LMU entered Friday’s contest having lost three straight WCC series, the anticipation of playing a rival was heightened, especially since USD fell to the Lions earlier in the season in San Diego State’s Aztec Invitational.


“LMU is always a war for us,” Hill said. “They’re so well coached and they just give you such a tough at-bat all of the time. They’ve got a veteran group, and it’s always tough with those guys.”


“LMU is a very good team and we knew that coming in today because they beat us pretty bad last time,” Matusz said. “We knew that they were going to come out swinging the bats.”


The Lions did swing the bats, as they were only out-hit by one, 11-10. Michael Glomb extended his hit streak to 11 games and A.J. LaMonda, Angeleo Songo, Ryan Wheeler and Matt Koch each recorded multi-hit games.


The series continues Saturday at Cunningham Stadium with the undefeated southpaw Josh Romanski (7-0, 3.88) slated to square off against righty Xavier Esquivel.