The Master’s University baseball team gave up a four-run lead and lost the first game of a three-game series to the Westmont Warriors 13-5 Friday at Lou Herwaldt Stadium.
The Mustangs (26-12, 10-9 GSAC) allowed all 13 runs to the No. 11-ranked team in the nation in the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth innings after jumping out to a 4-0 lead.
“We were phenomenal offensively early,” said head coach Monte Brooks. “But they kept their starter in and we started chasing some pitches and got out of our element that got him on a roll and pitch some shutout innings.”
That phenomenal offense Coach Brooks was talking about started in the Mustangs’ half of the first inning when Evan Banksworked a two-out walk and then Ryan Mathiesen doubled to left center to score Banks.
After a 1-2-3 top of the second for Westmont, TMU put together another two-out rally. With Mile Henderson on first, Tyler Grodell singled to left to move Henderson to second. Will Batz then stepped up and hit an absulute bomb over the right field wall to give the Mustangs a 4-0 lead.
Starting pitcher Carson Knapp meanwhile was cruising. The freshman from Saugus, Calif. pitched 4.2 innings of shutout baseball before giving up a run. He started the sixth inning, but after giving up two quick singles, Brooks decided to make a change.
“Carson threw well. He had a great outing and did very well,” Brooks said.
The Warriors took advantage of walks and hit batters to go on to score four in thew sixth, two in the seventh and six in the eighth off Mustangs’ relievers. Mathiesen added a solo homer in the bottom of the eighth, but at that point it was too little too late.
“We had to make a relief change, and hit batsmen and walks put us in a very difficult spot,” Brooks said. “And they took advantage of that.”
The two teams will be back at it Saturday with a doubleheader at Lou Herwaldt Stadium to finish off the three-game series. Before the first game at 11 a.m., The Master’s will honor seven players who will be playing their final home game in a Mustangs’ uniform. That ceremony is set to start at 10:45 a.m.