La Mirada Split
March 15, 2014
La Mirada, CA -- Steve Karkenny socked a home run and drove in three runs and Andrew Klausmeier pitched six strong innings to lift The Master's College past Biola 7-1 in the second game of Saturday's doubleheader in La Mirada, earning the Mustangs a split with the Eagles who won the opener 6-4.
The fifth twinbill split of the season gave the Mustangs their ninth series win of the campaign as they improved to 25-6 overall and 15-6 in the GSAC where they maintained a slim, half-game lead over San Diego Christian (14-6 GSAC).
After the Eagles won the opener, the Mustangs were looking for a lift to salvage a split and win the weekend series. They got it from Klausmeier (Northridge, CA) and Karkenny (Chatsworth, CA).
Klausmeier (3-1), making his fourth start of the year, equaled a season-high with his six-inning stint, allowing four hits and one earned run while striking out two and walking no one. He survived doubles in the first and third frames, respectively, and retired the Eagles in order in the second, fourth, and fifth innings.
In the sixth, he allowed the Eagles their only run of the game when the hosts strung together a double, a single, and a sacrifice fly. That just drew Biola within 6-1.
The Mustangs had built that advantage with two runs in the first inning and four more in the fifth. Karkenny was a key run-producer in each of those frames.
In the first, he hammered a Jesse Yancosek pitch over the fence in left field, scoring Jon Popadics (Boise, ID) ahead of him for a 2-0 lead. It was the junior All-American's third homer of the year, tying him with Popadics for the team lead.
Yancosek bounced back, posting three straight scoreless innings until the Mustangs tripled their lead in the fifth. Karkenny drove in the first run of the frame, plating Bryce Clancy (Phoenix, AZ), who was running for Toth after the catcher led off the frame with a base hit and had stolen second base. Minutes later, Popadics crossed home plate on an Eagle error, and Anthony Leal (San Juan Capistrano, CA) capped the onslaught with a two-run single that scored Joe Riddle (Bakersfield, CA) and Karkenny.
After the Eagles scored their lone run in the sixth, the Mustangs answered a final time in the seventh and final frame, and Karkenny was in the middle of it again. He lined a leadoff double down the left field line, advanced to third base on a groundout, and scored on Sam Robison's (San Juan Capistrano, CA) two-out single up the middle.
Freshman Conner Menez (Hollister, CA) finished off the win, tossing a perfect seventh.
Karkenny was the only Mustang with more than one hit, going 3-3 with three rbi.
The opener had all the appearances of repeating yesterday's Mustang win as the Eagles sprinted to a 4-0 lead (they led by as much as 5-0 on Friday) only to watch the visitors rally back to tie it.
The Eagles nicked Mustang starter James Scott (Canyon Country, CA) for a run in the third, using a hit batsman, a single, a wild pitch, and a groundout to go up 1-0. An inning later, Biola made it 4-0, rocking Scott for three runs on three more hits, all coming with two outs.
Down 4-0, the Mustangs used that same strategy to get on the board in the top of the fifth. After two were out, Ryan Shackelford (Murrieta, CA) singled and moved to second base on a wild pitch. Popadics joined him on the bases after earning a walk and both Mustang infielders then pulled off a double steal. That paid off immediately as Karkenny stroked a two-run single up the middle, slicing the deficit in half.
The Mustangs had a chance to score again in the sixth but left two on base. They didn't waste the same opportunity an inning later.
Spencer Toth (Asheville, NC) led off the seventh with a single to left field and courtesy runner Clancy advanced to second base on a wild pitch. Moments later, he scored easily on a Shackelford double down the left field line. Two outs later, Shackelford went to third on another wild pitch and scored on Riddle's game-tying double down the right field line.
Unlike Friday when the Eagles had no answer for the Mustangs, they did Saturday afternoon, picking on Mustang reliever Dalton Thompson (Riverside, CA) for four hits and two runs in the last of the seventh, going ahead for good 6-4. That was enough to tag the sophomore with his second loss (2-2) of the season.
The Mustangs put a runner on board in the eighth but he was wiped out on a double play and then they went quietly in the ninth as the Eagles recorded their first win of the season against their neighbors from Newhall.
Shackelford's trio of hits led the Mustangs' eight-hit attack with Toth adding two more.
Now, the Mustangs gear up for a mid-season showdown with San Diego Christian. The Hawks, who dropped two of three to The Master's in early February in El Cajon, travel up to Newhall next weekend for an important three-game series. The first pitch will be thrown at 3:00pm Friday on Reese Field.