Steven Karkenny did it again.
Karkenny, who has carried the Mustangs offensively as of late, hit an RBI single with two outs in the seventh inning of the nightcap to put The Master’s College (22-9, 15-6 GSAC) ahead for good in a 5-3 win over Biola. The Mustangs desperately needed the win after losing game one of the doubleheader 11-2.
“That is the sign of character,” said Mustang coach Monte Brooks on winning game two. “And that is why I love these kids, because character is everything. That was so encouraging for our coaching staff. The Lord knows that it is all about the heart and those guys have a heart that continues to press on as Scripture says.”
TMC led 3-1 entering the bottom of the sixth inning, before Mustang shortstop Jon Popadics (Boise, ID) made his third error of the season, allowing Sam Thorne to reach base with two outs. Michael Annunziata doubled, scoring Thorne’s courtesy runner from first.
After a walk, pinch-hitter James Petrilli singled to center, scoring Annunziata from second and tying the game at 3-all. Popadics rebounded with a nice play to end the inning.
Biola (18-13, 10-11 GSAC) may have been surprised to see Mustang ace A.J. Work (Boise, ID) lead off the seventh inning, but they must have been shocked to see him line a single to left-center field. Then with one out and two on, Popadics grounded out to the shortstop but beat the relay to first, avoiding an inning- ending double play.
“I just knew that with Karkenny behind me, I had to beat it out,” said Popadics.
Karkenny’s single, which scored Caleb Halverson (Temple City, CA), was misplayed by Biola’s right fielder, allowing Popadics to score from first and Karkenny to advance to third.
TMC’s Tommy Kister (Saugus, CA) (2-0) pitched a scoreless 1.1 innings for the win in relief of Tyler Elrod (Modesto, CA).
“I try to remain calm and really focus on getting ahead of the hitters,” said Kister on pitching in pressure situations. “I just do my job of throwing strikes and letting the defense work behind me.”
Elrod pitched 5.1 innings, allowing three runs (one earned) on six hits. Karkenny (Chatsworth, CA) helped him get out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the fourth. Karkenny, who usually plays left field, fielded a single in right and threw outBenji Sutherland at home, limiting the Eagles to one run in the inning. Biola’s deep right field persuaded Brooks to put the faster Karkenny there and shift Chris Talley (Simi Valley, CA) to left.
TMC’s Spencer Downs (Kelso, WA) hit a two-run double in the third and Joe Riddle (Bakersfield, CA) hit his third home run of the season in the sixth. With the win, the Mustangs avoided being swept for the first time this season.
In game one, Biola’s Josh Staumont (4-3) dominated TMC for the second time this season, recording a complete-game victory. He allowed two runs on two hits and struck out eight.
On January 28, Staumont pitched 5.1 hitless innings against TMC. He held the Mustangs hitless for 6.1 innings Saturday, before Downs singled to right field.
“He (Staumont) is 91-94mph,” Brooks said. “I thought early we had some good at-bats but then we chased some pitches. We were frustrated and pressed. He had his breaking ball working better today. He is a big league talent.”
James Scott (Santa Clarita, CA) (4-3) allowed one run on four hits through the first four innings. But the wheels came off in the fifth, as he gave up five hits, two walks, and hit a batter en route to seven Biola runs.
The Mustangs never got going offensively while Biola scored two more runs in the seventh and capped things off with a Michael Chriss home run in the eighth. TMC scored two inconsequential runs in the ninth and lost 11-2.
TMC will be at home for the third and final time this month on Tuesday when they host the Doane Tigers from Nebraska. First pitch is scheduled for 3:00pm.
* TMC lost back-to-back games (Friday & game one Saturday) for the first time since Biola beat them on January 26 and 28.
* The Eagles have beaten the Mustangs in 11 of their last 14 meetings.
* TMC retains its two-game lead over Concordia, which split with Arizona Christian on Saturday.