The Master’s College came out on a warm, overcast Southern California winter day to complete its second GSAC sweep of the season, defeating Vanguard 5-3 and 9-3.
The twin wins kept the Mustangs atop the conference with a 10-2 record (16-2 overall) while the Lions fell to 9-6 overall and 4-5 in the GSAC..
In the opener, the Mustangs played in a similar fashion as they had on Friday afternoon when they rallied to beat Vanguard – from behind.
Making his second start of the season, senior James Scott (Newhall, CA) took the hill and gave up a run in the top of the first inning, but that deficit only lasted until the bottom of the second. With two outs, Tyler Krahn (Abbotsford, BC, Canada) blasted a fastball over the right field fence and Quigley Road to knot the game at 1-1. It was Krahn’s second homer of the year.
TMC scored again in the third inning when Steven Karkenny (Chatsworth, CA) reached on a fielder’s choice, stole second, and came around on a single up the middle by Jon Popadics (Boise, ID).
On a tight pitch count set by the coaching staff, Scott continued to cruise along until he hit a rough patch in the seventh inning. The senior righthander gave up a lead-off single to left field, retired the following batter on a flyout, and gave up another single to left field. With runners on first and second, the Mustangs gave the ball to Andrew Klausmeier (Northridge, CA) to try and stop the threat. After giving up back-to back-singles for two earned runs that were charged to Scott, Klausmeier induced a double play groundout to end the rally with score tied at 3-3.
In the bottom of the frame, the Mustangs were quick to load the bases for Popadics with nobody out. On a 2-0 count, he lined out to the second baseman that turned into a double play when Karkenny was caught too far off first base. Joe Riddle (Bakersfield, CA) was intentionally walked to load the bases again and a wild pitch plated pinch runner Ethan Stine (Apple Valley, CA) with the go-ahead run.
Klausmeier went back to the mound in the eighth and shut down the Lions over the final two frames to claim his first victory (1-0) of the year.
“My motivation is trusting Christ with the situations I am in and try and be a team player more than anything. My stuff’s not all there and my arm is feeling a little weird, but it’s all in God’s sovereignty so I’m just trusting that each day,” Klausmeier stated after acknowledging the success he has had coming out of the bullpen this season (no earned runs in 10 2/3 innings of work).
Leading the Mustangs offensively were Krahn, Popadics, Sam Robison (San Juan Capistrano, CA), and Ryan Shackelford (Murrieta, CA) who all finished with two hits apiece as the Mustangs outhit the Lions 9-7.
In game two, the Mustangs sailed to victory behind the pitching of Tucker Richardson (Modesto, CA) and the hitting of Collin Nyenhuis (Vista, CA).
Richardson grabbed his fourth win (4-1) on the mound for the Mustangs with a strong performance over five innings, giving up one run on two hits and striking out four.
The Master’s drew first blood in the bottom of the third when Anthony Leal (San Juan Capistrano) drew a lead-off walk, advanced on a passed ball, and scored on Spencer Toth’s (Asheville, NC) line drive single to left-center field. Following Toth’s hit, Robinson walked, Karkenny singled, and Popadics walked with the bases loaded for another run.
The next inning, Shackelford led off with a booming triple over the centerfielder’s head, and Nyenhuis (Vista, CA), the previous day’s hero, chopped a run-scoring single over the shortstop to plate the senior third baseman for a 3-0 lead. Nyenhuis wasn’t done on the day, though.
The Mustangs put the game out of reach in the sixth when Robison again led off the inning with a bunt single and Karkenny and Popadics both walked to load the bases for Riddle. The designated hitter doubled deep down the right field line to score a pair of runs, extending the lead to 5-1.
After a pitching change, Popadics scored on a wild pitch and Riddle crossed home plate on Shackelford’s rbi single. Two batters later, Nyenhuis stepped in the box again and crushed a 90-mph fastball over the scoreboard in left field to cap off the scoring assault for a 9-1 lead.
“I’m just trying to hit the ball up the middle,” Nyenhuis said. “As a team we need to work on better pitch selection,” he responded when asked what the team needs to do in order to continue its outstanding start.
He finished the nightcap 2-3 with a trio of rbi while Riddle drove in two runs. Toth, Popadics, and Shackelford all had an rbi apiece.
The Lions did not give up easily. Freshman Hunter Totemeier (Santa Ynez, CA) came on to pitch in the sixth inning and gave up four singles and two runs before calming the threat to end the inning.
Conner Menez (Hollister, CA) finished out the game in the top of seventh, retiring all three batters he faced.
Riding a three-game winning streak, the Mustangs will take a one-game break from GSAC play on Monday when they face Corban (OR) in a non-conference contest at Biola in La Mirada.