San Diego Split
By Mason Nesbitt, For TMC Sports Information
March 22, 2014
The Master’s College Baseball team only shut down San Diego Christian’s high-powered offense for one game of the teams’ three-game series. But it was enough to salvage the finale and pull to within a half game of first place.
TMC split two games against the San Diego Christian Hawks on Saturday at Pete Reese Field, losing 7-1 and winning 4-2.
In effect, the teams split their season series at three wins each.
“(The GSAC) is anyone’s league,” said TMC’s third baseman Ryan Shackelford.
The Mustangs (26-8 overall, 16-8 in GSAC) fell behind San Diego early and never recovered en route to a 7-1 loss, which temporarily dropped TMC one and a half games behind the Hawks in the standings.
“Each game a different guy is hot for us (offensively),” Shackelford said. “(We need) consistency throughout the lineup.”
San Diego (24-9, 16-7) had consistency, scoring three runs in the second, two in the fourth and one in the fifth. It could’ve been worse, as it left the bases loaded in the second and third innings.
The Hawks came into the doubleheader having scored the eighth most runs in the NAIA.
TMC used five pitchers after starter Tommy Kister allowed three runs in two innings.
Gabriel Hemmer pitched nine innings, allowed one run and struck out nine for San Diego, which had taken over first place in the GSAC with a 7-3 win in the first game of the series on Friday.
TMC’s Joe Riddle was the only Mustang who had multiple hits with three.
Michael Stowers and Christian Johnson recorded two hits each for the Hawks, which had six different players post an RBI.
Lack of timely hitting has plagued TMC all season, but they made their only three hits count in a 4-2 win, which moved the Mustangs to half a game back of San Diego in the GSAC standings.
“We had three hits, but they were clutch,” said TMC head coach Monte Brooks.
The first clutch hit came in the second inning when TMC’s Josh Schwartz hit a two-RBI single. The game was only Schwartz’s second start of the season.
The second was a single in the third inning from TMC shortstop Jon Popadics, who scored on a Steven Karkenny sacrifice fly later in the inning for a 3-0 lead.
Ryan Shackelford provided the third clutch hit for the Mustangs, a one-out RBI single that put TMC up 4-0.
Mustang starting pitcher Tucker Richardson, who had missed his previous three starts because of a sore arm, pitched five shutout innings and allowed only three hits. The 6-foot-7 senior pitched to the top of the strike zone, keeping a good low-ball hitting San Diego team at bay.
He also induced three double plays.
“Huge, that’s our game,” said Brooks of the double plays, “Those guys up the middle are quick.”
San Diego scored two runs off TMC’s bullpen in the sixth, which made for a tense seventh inning. But Steven Karkenny pitched a scoreless seventh inning for his fifth save.
San Diego’s Cade Gotta capped an impressive series by going 2-for-3.
“I don’t know how you get Gotta out,” Shackelford said. “I think he only gets himself out when he’s board.”