The Dirtbags trailed 5-3 and had nothing going in the eighth inning after their first two batters fouled out and struck out. But pinch hitter Jonathan Kim walked on four pitches and Jeff McNeil, also pinch hitting singled to right field, prompting LMU to summon “Everyday Aaron” Griffin from the bullpen.
After a passed ball allowed McNeil to move to second, Johnny Bekakis hit a nubber between the mound and second base. Cullen Mahoney fielded the slow roller. Not having a play on the speedy Bekakis, he faked to first and had McNeil dead to rights going home.
But Mahoney couldn’t make the throw home because the umpire was in the way, unintentionally shielding him from a direct throw to the plate. Mahoney, instead, had to run an off-tackle bootleg around the umpire before firing home late, allowing McNeil to score the tying run. Bekakis took second on the throw and scored the game-winning run on an Ino Patron single to centerfield following a pitching change.
[full recap to follow]
Check out the 20-shot photo gallery from Monday night’s Long Beach State/Loyola Marymount matchup below: