Tommy Kister hurled seven strong innings and his teammates made the most of five hits as The Master’s College edged Biola 2-1 in the GSAC opener for both clubs Friday afternoon in Placerita Canyon.
The victory was the 12th-ranked Mustangs’ fourth in a row to start the 2014 campaign while the Eagles fell to 1-2 overall.
After rapping out a combined 41 hits in a three-game sweep of Simpson last weekend, the Mustangs found hits were at a premium in their home opener against the Eagles and Garrett Picha. The lefthander scattered five hits over seven innings and allowed a pair of runs, one of those unearned as Biola’s defense, which committed five errors, let its pitcher down.
Meanwhile, senior Tommy Kister (Saugus) surrendered eight hits over the same number of innings, benefitting from big pitches and strong defense.
The Eagles struck first in their initial at-bat, stringing together a couple of singles and a fielder’s choice to take a 1-0 lead.
It didn’t take long for the Mustangs to even things up. Lead-off man Caleb Halverson (Temple City, CA) reached on the first of those Biola miscues, advanced to second base on Jon Popadics’ (Boise, ID) sacrifice bunt, and raced home an out later on Joe Riddle’s (Bakersfield, CA) clutch, two-out rbi single to center field.
The score stayed deadlocked until the bottom of the fourth thanks to Kister and his defense as the righthander induced an inning-ending, bases-loaded double play in the third inning.
In the fourth, Ryan Shackelford (Murrieta, CA) singled up the middle with one out, raced to second base on a groundout, and sprinted home on Sam Robison’s (San Juan Capistrano, CA) two-out single to center field.
That slightest of leads almost disappeared in the top of the fifth when Kister allowed a couple of two-out singles, balked both runners to second and third before coming up with a big strikeout to end the the threat.
In Kister’s seventh and final inning of work, the Eagles, who wrapped out nine hits, had runners at first and second with two outs, but the righthander whiffed an Eagle to preserve the lead.
Kister helped himself by walking no one in his seven-inning stint and striking out six.
Clinging to a 2-1 lead, Coach Monte Brooks turned to righthander Steve Karkenny (Chatsworth, CA) in the eighth, hoping to get to the ninth with the advantage and closer Josh Brown (Valencia, CA). They almost didn’t as Karkenny got into trouble, allowing a one-out single and plunking an Eagle, before escaping with a strikeout and an inning-ending poput.
It went much easier for Brown in the ninth as the righthander sandwiched a pair of flyouts around a groundout to seal the win and his first save as a Mustang.
Halverson’s two hits led the Mustangs.
The Mustangs and Eagles return to Reese Field on Saturday, engaging in a doubleheader that starts at 11:00am.