In the first game of their three-game series against the Loyola Marymount Lions, the Portland Pilots lost 2-1, falling to 16-10 and 1-6 in conference play.
The Pilots were coming off a big win from last Tuesday against No. 8 Oregon State.
“After the game at Oregon State that was a big win for us, we came in pretty confident to this game,” senior shortstop Chad Stevens said. “We were hoping to scratch out a tie game tonight but it didn’t really come out in our favor.”
The Lions were up to bat first and the Pilot’s pitcher, sophomore Eli Morse, held them at zero RBIs until the seventh inning.
“They had one good inning at the end,” head coach Geoff Loomis said. “But that doesn’t take away the good pitching effort that Eli gave and Christian Peters behind him.”
Morse was solid on the mound against LMU, with eight strikeouts and an earned run average of 1.77, compared to his season ERA of 2.48. The Lions swung aggressively, bringing in eight hits compared to Portland’s four.
Junior Christian Peters came in at the top of the ninth to finish out the game pitching for the Pilots. He had two strikeouts for the Pilots.
Stevens made some key defensive plays that held Portland dominant for this game. At the top of the sixth, he caught a ball hit by the Lions off the bounce and quickly threw it to Tracye Tammaro at first base to get the out and close out and change possession. In the ninth, Stevens made a leaping catch in the infield to hand the Lions their third out.
Portland came out swinging hard; Stevens hit a home run off of LMU’s first pitch, making it four on the season. Stevens’ batting average is .297 and has 17 RBIs on the season. In this game, Stevens’ average reached .312.
“We came in knowing this was gonna be a tough friday night against another tough pitcher in our league,” Loomis said. “We started the game with a home run and then the bats went to sleep.”
The Pilots defense slowed down in the seventh inning: the Lions scored both of their two RBIs off of a Pilot error.
“One of their guys stepped up and had a big hit,” Stevens said of the seventh inning. “It got the momentum on their side and took it away from us.”
The Pilots face the Lions again Saturday at 6 p.m. at Joe Etzel field.
Morgan Wahler is a sports reporter for The Beacon. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.