Santa Clarita, Calif. — Using a formula that worked to perfection last season, The Master’s College employed a quartet of pitchers Tuesday afternoon and all four responded with scoreless innings as the Mustangs shut out Bethesda 3-0 in a non-conference game at Lou Herwaldt Stadium.
Throughout much of 2015, Mustang head coach Monte Brooks went to pitcher-by-committee during non-conference, mid-week games with outstanding results. On his first chance in 2016, Brooks repeated that strategy with similar results as the club ran its season-opening winning streak to 5-0 games.
Conner Menez (Ormond Beach, FL) got the start and responded in typical fashion, retiring six of the seven batters he faced in two quick innings of hitless work. Despite working just two frames, the lefty picked up the win (2-0) after his teammates came through in the clutch in the bottom of the second.
Parlaying three hits along with a Bethesda error, the Mustangs scored twice to take a 2-0 lead. With one out, David Sheaffer (Mt. Airy, NC) doubled to left field and courtesy runner John Brazil (Potter Valley, CA) moved to third base on the Flames’ miscue. Following a popout, Tyler Krahn (Abbotsford, BC, Canada) slapped a two-out rbi single that plated Brazil with the game’s first run and Max Maitland (Murrieta, CA) clutched up moments later with a single to center field that scored Krahn.
Jason Karkenny (Chatsworth, CA) followed Menez to the mound and the junior righthander provided two more innings of scoreless pitching, surrendering one of the Flames’ three hits on the afternoon.
Next up on the hill was reliever Aaron Alexander (Concord, CA). The junior righthander, who thrived in this role last year, was on his game again in his second appearance of 2016. Going four innings, Alexander scattered two hits and set down the first six batters he faced. His part of the shutout was preserved in the top of the eighth when Bethesda’s Mario Gonzalez was thrown out at the plate by rightfielder Matt Janes (Riverside, CA) following a base hit.
The Mustangs scored their final run in the last of the sixth when designated hitter Brad Lohse (Chico, CA) walked with one out, advanced to third on Krahn’s single to right field, and scored on Janes’ sacrifice bunt.
In the top of the ninth, Brooks sent out closer Danny Lutz (Phoenix, AZ) and the junior transfer responded with a very efficient 1-2-3 inning, chalking up his second save of the young season.
After playing five games over the past five days, the Mustangs get a break before resuming play this Saturday in a doubleheader at UC San Diego. Saturday’s first game in La Jolla is scheduled for a 2:00pm start.