San Francisco, Calif. – Picking up where they left off on Tuesday night, the Tigers' offense exploded for 11 runs on 15 hits to outslug San Francisco, 11-7, on Friday, April 11. The win for the Tigers moved them to 16-19 overall and 6-7 in WCC play while the Dons fell to 15-17 on the year and 5-8 in conference action.
Pacific's 11 runs in the game tied for the most runs scored in a game by the Tigers on the season, matching their 11 runs scored against BYU a week prior.
Early on in the game the Tigers' offense had its chances to bust the game wide open as Pacific put runners in scoring position in each of the first four innings but managed just one run. The early tally came in the top of the first when Pacific loaded the bases with just one out before sophomore J.P. Yakel delivered an RBI single. However, Pacific would leave the bases loaded in the inning before stranding five in scoring position over the first four innings of work against the Dons.
The missed chances hurt the Tigers as the Dons were able to strike for single runs in both the third and the fourth innings of action. USF capitalized on a pair of leadoff doubles in each of the scoring innings against junior Michael Hager who started the contest for Pacific.
Down one run in the fifth, Pacific would post its first crooked number of the game with two touching the plate in the inning. Instead of waiting for a runner to work his way into scoring position, sophomore Gio Brusa decided to take matters into his own hands with a two-run blast to right. Brusa turned on a 2-0 pitch by Don starter, Abe Bobb, and lined a shot over the right field wall that got out before Bobb could turn his head to see where the ball was hit. The shot was setup by a leadoff walk to sophomore Brett Sullivan as the second-year shortstop got on for the second time in the game. The home run was the second in as many games for the sophomore slugger and the third of the year.
The lead would be short lived for the Tigers as the Dons broke loose in the bottom half of the frame with four runs as USF sent 10 to the plate against Pacific. With the ball beginning to carry, the Dons got their first two runs of the inning behind a pair of solo home runs from Nico Giarratano and Brendan Hendriks to snare back the lead from Pacific. They would tack on two more on a bases loaded double by Michael Eaton that gave USF the 6-3 lead.
With the game seemingly slipping away, junior Taylor Murphy pulled Pacific back into the contest as he tattooed a 1-0 pitch from Sheldon Lee over the wall in right-center field for a three-run home run. The junior's home run came after junior Jimmy Gosano had singled in front of bunt by junior Tyler Sullivan that was misplayed by the Dons' defense. The home run was the second in as many games for Murphy and second of his season.
After picking up a shutdown inning in the bottom of the sixth that included junior Bryce Lombardi (1-1) stranding the bases loaded, the Tigers busted the game wide open in the seventh with five runs. Looking to match the Dons' efforts two innings prior, Pacific sent nine batters to the plate in the frame and produced four hits to score the five runs. In the inning, Gosano started the rally off with a bases loaded walk before the bats of Murphy and B. Sullivan brought in the next four runs with two outs in the inning. Murphy's bloop two-RBI single gave the junior a career-best five RBI in the game, the most for any Tiger hitter in 2014.
The Dons would tack on a meaningless run in the bottom of the ninth to cut the final deficit to four runs as the bullpen of Kyle Crawford, Lombardi, Jason Taasaas, and Vince Arobio stopped the Dons' offense in its tracks over the final four innings. For his efforts in relief, Lombardi grabbed his first win of the season as he went 1.2 innings of scoreless work while giving up just one hit and one walk.
The top of Pacific's order finished with eight of the Tigers' 15 hits with Murphy and B. Sullivan each tallying three in the win. T. Sullivan and Gosano each recorded a pair of hits as eight of nine starters recorded a hit while nine different Tigers recorded a knock.
Pacific will go for the series clinching win on Saturday, April 12 when the two teams meet up for the second time at Benedetti Diamond at 1:00 pm.