LMU had an eventful few days this weekend, with their last home series against the University of San Diego Toreros.
USD had proven to be a difficult competitor to its previous opponents, entering the series with a 27-12 overall record.
The Toreros held a first place spot in the conference for several weeks, before falling to fourth when Brigham Young took their series last week.
USD took game one on Friday night with a total of 19 hits, five of which were home runs. The lead traded back and forth almost every inning, with the Lions leading 10-7 going into the ninth inning. However, a solo homer and 1-out single off Codie Paiva opened up the top of the ninth, putting the score at 10-8.
The Lions fought back, working to two outs with 1 on. Down to the last strike, Torero player Chris McCready launched a go ahead homer, which ultimately sunk the Lions.
Having dropped the series opener, LMU found itself in a three way tie for 2nd place with USD and Gonzaga. Going into Saturday’s game, they hoped to even the series and establish their place in the rankings. Junior ace Cory Abbott took the mound, throwing another beautiful game in what seems to be becoming a weekly show. In the first 6 innings, Abbott didn’t allow a hit, let alone a run.
After 8 innings, Abbott allowed only 3 unearned runs on three hits, and struck out a career high 15 batters. He is only one strikeout away from the school all-time record of most in one game, set at 16 in 1996. Abbott’s record is now 9-1, and leads the entire country in wins.
This win gave Abbott his third WCC Pitcher of the Week title, and second national Pitcher of the Week award. Offensively, the Lions were just as hot, logging 10 runs on 14 hits. 7 of those runs came in one inning alone. Six Lions had multi-hit games, including Billy Wilson’s third homer of the season.
With the upset of the Toreros on Saturday, the three-way tie for 2nd place was broken. Gonzaga lost as well, and BYU hasn’t played quite as many games on the season, putting LMU in sole possession of the #2 spot. Sending Blake Redman to the hill, and hoping the momentum would carry over to Sunday, the Lions aimed to break the series tie. Though USD struck first, LMU rallied, scoring 6 runs with a walk, a balk, a passed ball, a hit-by-pitch, and two singles from Spencer Erdman to seal the series.
With the series win, LMU is nationally ranked for the first time this season. The Lions hope to hold onto or move up from #23 in the country. Sunday’s victory marked win #30 for the Lions. They are currently the only team in the WCC to amass 30 wins so far. The Lions are expected not only to reach the WCC Championships later this month, but hope to advance past them.
Whether the team can make it all the way to Omaha for the College World Series has yet to be revealed, but the team and their fans are optimistic for their success. LMU is still undefeated in weekend series, improving to 10-0-1.
For many of the Lions, this was their last home game at LMU in their collegiate careers. With a graduating class of 11, the seniors were celebrated before Sunday’s game with a small ceremony, photos and, of course, the 6-3 series win.
LMU does not have any games this week, due to finals and graduation. Their next game comes on May 9th, when they play UC Riverside. They play CSU Bakersfield the next day, May 10th. The biggest road series of the season comes when they face the Gonzaga Bulldogs in Spokane, WA starting on May 12. All away games can be streamed for free online through lmulions.com.