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TMC baseballl falls short of conference crown

Posted: April 26, 2014 9:02 p.m.
Updated: April 26, 2014 9:02 p.m.

The Master’s College baseball team spit its doubleheader against Westmont on Saturday, winning the first game 2-0 and then dropping the next 8-4.

As a result, the Mustangs finished Golden State Athletic Conference play with a 23-13 record, 37-14 overall, and a game behind San Diego Christian for the top spot in the conference.

That means TMC just missed out on winning its second straight regular season conference title.

TMC only needed two runs to beat the Warriors in the first game thanks in large part to its pitching. Mustangs’ starter Tommy Kister and reliever Steven Karkenny combined to hold Westmont scoreless with only five hits.

Kister went 7 1/3 innings, striking out five and walking only one.

“Tommy was phenomenal,” said TMC head coach Monte Brooks. “It’s really nice to see a senior step up like that when the team needed him.”

Deadlocked for most of the game, TMC finally got on the board in the sixth inning when Jonathan Popadics doubled down the left field line to score Sam Robinson and Caleb Halverson.

That’s where the offense stopped for both teams.

The Mustangs finished with only three hits, two of which came in the sixth inning.

The only player for either team to have more than one hit in the game was Westmont’s Rudy Leon, who went 2-for-3.

Things picked up in the second game when TMC matched its run production from the first game in the top of the first inning by jumping out to a 2-0 lead thanks to a sacrifice fly from Ryan Shackelford and an RBI single from Andrew Klausmeier.

But the Warriors also found their offense in their half of the inning, taking a 5-2 lead after one.

Westmont added another run in the fourth and two more in the fifth to push its lead to 8-2.

TMC scored two in the seventh to make the score 8-4 but couldn’t maintain the momentum.

The Mustangs needed to sweep Westmont in order to secure their second straight regular season championship and to host the GSAC conference tournament for the second year in a row.

But with their loss in the late game, and San Diego Christian’s sweep of Biola, the Hawks get both honors.

The conference tournament will start May 1 in El Cajon.

“It’s going to be a challenge,” said Brooks. “All the teams are extremely good. We’re in such a competitive league, we’ll have to be prepared.”


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