Max Maitland’s two-run single in the last of the sixth inning drove in the tying and go-ahead runs as The Master’s University salvaged a doubleheader split with Biola Saturday afternoon at Lou Herwaldt Stadium.
Maitland’s clutch base hit to center field gave the Mustangs a 5-4 victory in the nightcap after they had dropped the opener 4-3 to the Eagles in 10 innings.
The split left the Mustangs at 15-15 overall and 6-9 in the GSAC, six games behind first-place Menlo.
The Mustangs trailed twice in the second game before Maitland came up big. The sophomore centerfielder’s third hit in the nightcap plated Ricky Sottile and Ethan Brandt. Trailing 4-3 in the last of the sixth, the Mustangs got a lead-off single from Moises Garcia, who was run for by Sottile. Brandt followed with an infield single and Ryan Bricker moved both of them up a base with a sacrifice bunt before Maitland drove in his second and third runs of the game.
Mustang reliever Aiden Stout (1-0), who had thrown a scoreless top of the sixth, made the one-run advantage stand up in the seventh and final frame, surrendering a two-out single before inducing a game-ending groundout to shortstop Aaron Shackelford for his first collegiate win.
Much earlier, the Eagles had struck first in the nightcap, using two singles, a Mustang error, and a sacrifice fly to score twice in their first at-bat against Mustang starter Robert Winslow.
The Mustangs halved the deficit in the last of the first inning when Maitland led off with his second home run of the season, a shot over the right field fence.
An inning later, the Mustangs moved in front 3-2 on a Garcia sacrifice fly and a Caleb Menez rbi single. Garcia’s flyout to right field scored David Sheaffer, who had drawn a lead-off walk, and Menez’ run-scoring base hit to left field plated Matt Janes, who had doubled.
After Winslow followed with a shutdown third inning the Eagles weren’t so compliant in the fourth as they strung together a double and a single to tie the game and then capitalized on a Winslow wild pitch to take a 4-3 lead.
Winslow wound up with a no-decision, going five innings in his staff-high ninth start of the season. He struck out five and walked two.
The Mustangs rapped out 10 hits in the nightcap with Maitland (3-4, 3 rbi) and Brandt (2-2) leading the way.
The opener featured a pitcher’s duel, at least through the first three innings as Eagle starter Micah Beyer and TMU’s Aaron Alexander posted zeroes in that span.
Then, in the last of the fourth inning, senior designated hitter Dalton deVries ended the shutout with one swing of the bat, socking a lead-off homer, his third of the year, over the fence in right-center field.
Alexander followed with a scoreless top of the fifth to preserve the slightest of leads along with a one-hitter. However, things changed dramatically in the sixth inning when the Eagles laced three singles and capitalized on a Sheaffer error to score twice and vault in front 2-1.
Those unearned runs eventually handed Alexander a no-decision. The senior righthander struck out eight in seven innings of work, allowed five hits, and lowered his ERA to a staff-best 1.61.
He escaped what would have been a hard-luck loss when his teammates evened the score at 2-2 in the last of the eighth. Shackelford reached on a fielder’s choice, sped to third base on a Jonah Jarrard single to left-center field, and scored the tying run on a wild pitch from Beyer.
Both clubs went 1-2-3 in the ninth, sending the game to extra innings where the Eagles broke through in the top of the 10th against Mustang reliever Scott Savage (0-3) , who walked two and then gave up a tie-breaking, two-run triple.
Down 4-2 going to the last of the 10th, the Mustangs put together a rally that put them on the cusp of not only tying but winning the game. Bricker led off the frame by reaching first base on a Biola error and moved up 90 feet one out later when Shackelford singled to right field. That chased Beyer, who was replaced by Daniel Jang and the junior righthander promptly walked Jarrard to load the bases.
Jang’s control continued to elude him when he issued another free pass, this one to deVries that forced in Bricker, cutting the deficit to 4-3. With the tying run standing 90 feet away and the potential game-winner at second base, the Mustangs were in a prime spot to win the opener. However, Jang got ahold of himself, striking out Sheaffer and getting Jason Karkenny to pop out to second base to end the game.
After their second doubleheader split of the season, the Mustangs take a brief break from GSAC play on Tuesday when they host Simpson in a 3:00 p.m. start at Herwaldt, Stadium.