When Preston White (pictured above) finds himself in a two-strike hole, he generally tries to stay loose and shorten his swing.
Saturday, he went long.
The Mustang junior took a two-strike pitch in the first inning and sent it over the wall at Lou Herwaldt Stadium as part of a two-homer, three-hit game that lifted No. 14 Master’s to a 9-8 win in game one of a double-header against Menlo College.
The Mustangs improved to 8-4 overall and 3-2 in Golden State Athletic Conference play.
White said the compact, first-inning swing felt good. The resulting victory felt better as it made for three-straight conference wins after an 0-2 start.
“After we lost two to San Diego (last weekend),” White said, “we came out with a vengeance in the final game down there and put up nine runs in the first inning.
“That put us on pace for practice this week, and we were ready to get after it this weekend and not beat ourselves.”
The Mustangs tightened up their defensive effort and let loose at the plate.
After falling behind 5-2 in the third, the Mustangs scored four runs over the next three innings to take the lead.
White hit his second homer, a solo shot, in the fifth inning, and he came through with an RBI single in the sixth.
Adam Rubio added much-needed insurance in the bottom of the seventh with a two-run double, as Menlo scratched across two runs in the eighth and another in the ninth.
White closed the game by inducing a fly out to center to strand the tying run at second base.
Eric Williams earned the win, tossing 4 2/3 scoreless innings in relief. He came on with runners at second and third in the top of the third inning and recorded a fly out and a strikeout to avert danger.
Menlo loaded the bases with two out in the fourth, but again Williams made pitches and escaped.
“I was really thrilled with Eric’s outing,” said TMU coach Monte Brooks. “He’s just starting to develop as a pitcher. He’s been a two-way player his whole life, and we wanted him to hone in on pitching as of last year.
“He’s put forth the effort to get better and better, and we’re seeing the results of his work.”
Here’s the box score.