LOS ANGELES — On March 3, Loyola Marymount junior catcher Colton Plaia (pictured left) was batting .167. Fellow junior Matt Lowenstein was hitting a woeful .103. But since then, the two have been tearing it up — both batting near .400.
The duo continued its hot hitting Friday afternoon in the Lions 9-4 win over Saint Mary’s in the West Coast Conference opener at Page Stadium.
Plaia pushed his season batting average above .300 with a 3-for-4 performance. He put Loyola Marymount up 2-0 in the first inning with a two-run single, scoring Lowenstein and Alex Guthrie. Plaia also blasted a two-run home run in the fifth inning and finished with an impressive five-RBI day.
Lowenstein was just as good. From his leadoff spot in the lineup, he was 3-for-4 with a walk. He scored a run and drove in a pair. His greatest accomplishment may have been the amount of pitches he saw. After singling on a 1-1 count in his first at bat, Lowenstein got out on a 2-2 count and then had three consecutive full count plate appearances.
On the mound for the Lions, freshman Colin Welmon picked up his fourth win of the season, but had his scoreless inning streak, which dated back to March 2, snapped at 25 innings. St. Mary’s clean-up hitter Collin Ferguson led off the second inning with a solo home run to end the streak. Welmon pitched eight innings, allowing four runs on eight hits. He struck out four Gaels batters and did not walk a batter to keep alive another streak — Welmon has now pitched 29 2/3 innings without issuing a walk.
Ben Griset took the loss for St. Mary’s as LMU scored runs in four of the first five innings to take an early 7-2 lead. The top three batters in the Gaels lineup — Donald Collins, Cole Norton and Troy Channing — each had two hits. One of Channing’s hits was a solo home run.
The two teams continue the West Coast Conference series at Page Stadium Saturday at 1 p.m.
Check out the photo gallery from Friday afternoon’s Loyola Marymount/St. Mary’s matchup below: