LMU’s Baseball Team Enjoyed A Big Weekend

Pitcher Harrison Simon Pitches The Win To Complete The Sweep

This week Team Living90045 welcomes a guest post from Catherine Galanti. Would you like to write for us? More info here.

To me, there’s truly no better way to spend a weekend than watching baseball. Others would argue that a day or two at the beach is the way to go. Here in Southern California, we’re pretty lucky that we can pick one or the other, or both, pretty much all year round.

This past weekend, I got to spend a couple of days watching LMU play rival Pepperdine. Though I’m undeniably biased when it comes to LMU and Pepperdine, spending the day in the Malibu hills is not a bad option. Sitting in the sun, watching the ocean over the left field fence, enjoying the endless expanse of green grass and blue sky, it seems idyllic. Almost too good to be true.

In addition to the beautiful weather and scenery, another bonus for the weekend was watching LMU win all three games against the Waves. The two teams, historic cross-town rivals, competed for points in this year’s PCH Cup. The Cup was formed as a way to keep track of the outcomes of LMU/Pepperdine matchups in their twelve sports. The Cup boosts the rivalry between the schools, while keeping track of the points accumulated throughout the year at each event. Because each sport has a distinct season of play, points are gained towards the PCH Cup throughout the entire school year. This series in baseball, and the West Coast Conference golf tournament this weekend, wrapped up the Cup for this year, with LMU winning 12 points to 9.5.

Aside from the importance of a series win over conference opponent and rival, the Waves sweep was especially sweet as it marked the Lions second sweep of the season, and continued their undefeated series streak. LMU hasn’t dropped a single series this season, posting a record of 9-0-1. LMU is now 27-13, and sits atop the WCC standings. Not bad for a team projected to finish the season 7th out of ten!

LMU’s pitching stayed strong throughout the weekend, much like they have all season. Even a rotation switch couldn’t stop them from dominating on the mound. Brenton Arriaga, starting a series opener for the first time in his career, pitched over 5 innings and allowed just three runs and five hits to move his record to 5-1 with the win. Codie Paiva came in for the final 3.2 scoreless frames, collecting a pair of strikeouts and his second save of the year along the way.

On Saturday, ace Cory Abbott took the hill, throwing six innings, with 1 run, 4 hits, 11 strikeouts and a single walk. Abbott’s record streak for innings pitched without an earned run came to an end, with the final count at 43 innings. He retired 14 straight Pepperdine batters between the first and sixth innings, and sat down nine of those 14 with strikeouts. Abbott is now 8-1 with the win, and has the best record on the team. Ted Boeke and Braydon Salzman contributed the last 3 innings, and didn’t allow a run, allowing the Lions to capture the series with Saturday’s score of 5-1.

Anyone who follows baseball regularly knows that circumstances change quickly, and that it really isn’t over until it’s over. LMU had been tied for first several weeks ago, but had fallen to third. Following Saturday’s win, the Lions once again found themselves topping the WCC standings, this time sharing the spot with the Gonzaga Bulldogs. In a surprise upset by Brigham Young, USD had fallen from first to fourth in a matter of two games. Heading into Sunday’s game, LMU looked to hold onto their spot, as those below them fought to move up.

Blake Redman, a senior pitcher whose usual spot is on Friday nights, got the start on Sunday. He was given a no decision, however, after allowing two runs on eight hits, striking out seven, and giving up one walk. The winning pitcher, Harrison Simon, threw 2 scoreless innings, while only giving up 2 hits. After the Lions broke a 2-2 tie with two runs in the ninth, Codie Paiva had the chance to shut the door on the Waves once again. He pitched a 1-2-3 inning for a quick victory, earning his third save of the year.

Though the series finished with an astounding 59 hits between the two teams, it was remarkably hard for either team to score. Not a show of power by any means, both the Waves and Lions sought to get on base with singles. Only four extra base hits were achieved throughout the whole weekend. Perhaps it was Pepperdine’s stadium itself, a pitcher’s park with much more foul territory than usual. Even with the extra room for the fielders to run down the balls, plenty went over the net into the stands or the surrounding hills. It was pretty funny to look up occasionally to see a Pepperdine bench player on the hill nearby, rooting through the shrubbery for a ball.

Rivalry aside, Pepperdine was a great place to watch a game. Though the stadium is open with very, very little shade, the atmosphere was incredible. From the games and giveaways hosted by the athletics department, to the views, to the plays being made on the field, I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend. For games and giveaways, I highly recommend the baseball bingo promotion. You check off boxes based on what happens in the game for the chance to win a prize. The scavenger hunt, where you look in your pockets and bags to find common objects like quarters, hats, sunscreen and bags of sunflower seeds was also a big hit.

LMU returns home to face the USD Toreros this coming weekend. USD has proven to be the most difficult team in the conference to beat this year, so a victory for the Lions would be exciting as well as important. Nearing the end of the season, a series like that could prove to be pivotal. See you there? Ticket information here.