Game Recap By Don Gilmore, TMU Assistant Sports Editor
In 2017, Anthony Lepre (pictured above) completed a power-packed, prolific two-year run at College of the Canyons.
After one year at UC Riverside, he’s back in the Santa Clarita Valley, showing that same pop with the bat, this time at The Master’s University.
On Friday in Lakeside, the right-handed hitting senior’s entire repertoire was on display in a doubleheader against San Diego Christian.
He slugged three home runs, went a combined 6-for-9 and drove in six runs to lead The Master’s to a 7-6 and 10-2 sweep of the host Hawks.
The Mustangs’ (17-9-1 overall, 10-6 GSAC) second consecutive doubleheader sweep vaulted the club into a three-way tie for second place in the conference and pulled them within one game of first-place Westmont.
“It was a great day for the team,” said TMU head coach Monte Brooks. “I was glad we didn’t give up in the first game and how we responded early in the second.”
In the opener, the Mustangs never trailed and yet had to go to extra innings to get the win.
They drew first blood in the top of the first when Lepre hammered his 15th home run of the season, a two-out, solo shot to right-center field.
The Hawks tied the game in their first at-bat against Mustang starter Caleb Jaime before his teammates gave him some runs to work with, scoring three times in the second for a 4-1 lead.
After loading the bases, a walk to Aaron Shackelford forced in the go-ahead run, a fielder’s choice by Lepre scored Will Batz, and the fourth run scored on a Hawk error.
The Hawks halved the deficit in the third with a run before Lepre struck again.
He did so in the top of the fourth with his second solo homer of the game.
Lepre wound up going 2-for-5 with three RBIs.
The Hawks countered again in the last half of the frame to pull within 5-3 and made it a one-run game in the seventh on a sacrifice fly.
The Mustangs made it a two-run game (6-4) in the eighth inning when Shackelford drew a two-out, bases-loaded walk and clung to that lead until the last of the ninth when the Hawks tied the game on a two-run homer.
This is when Brooks’ quote about his team not giving up came into play.
In the top of the 10th, Byron Smith led off with a double down the left-field line.
Then Batz stepped to the plate and clutched up, singling to center field to plate pinch runner Brayden Luft with what proved to be the winning run.
Batz went 3-for-5 in the opener as the Mustangs laced out 11 hits.
There was no such drama in the nightcap as the Mustangs scored seven runs in their first two at-bats, highlighted by a six-run second inning.
A Shackelford sacrifice fly in the top of the first gave the Mustangs a lead they would never relinquish.
They made sure of that an inning later.
Smith doubled in the frame’s first run, Batz’s base hit scored another, and when Shackelford singled in Batz, the Mustangs had a 4-0 lead.
Then, Lepre belted a three-run homer to right-center field and the lead ballooned to 7-0. It was Lepre’s team-leading 17th home run of the season. Along with his team-leading home run total, Lepre is hitting a remarkable .460 with a team-leading 41 RBIs.
With ace right-hander Robert Winslow on the mound, the run support was more than enough.
Winslow (6-1) wound up going five innings, surrendering four hits and no earned runs while striking out six.
The Hawks’ only run off the senior hurler came in unearned fashion in the fourth inning after Shackelford’s 15th homer of the season, a two-run shot to right field in the top of the frame, had put the Mustangs up 9-0.
Pinch-hitter Felix King‘s run-scoring double in the sixth capped the club’s scoring and gave the team its seventh double-digit scoring outing of the season.
Here are the box scores for Game 1 and Game 2.