The Lions (12-13, 4-3) used 11 hits, led by Tommy Cheek’s career-high four knocks, to pick up their fourth win in five games. But the biggest hit may have been the one to Gonzales. Entering the sixth inning, Gonzales had retired 12 of the previous 13 hitters. After a Cheek leadoff single, Tanner Donnels sent a screamer right back where it came from, nailing Gonzales on the outside of his left leg just above the knee.
Gonzales stayed in the game, but was never as effective. He was able to get ahead 0-2 on David Edwards, the first batter following the line drive. But he left a pitch up and Edwards punished it, hitting it high off the Blue Monster in left field for a game-tying two-run double.
The Bulldogs (15-9-1, 4-3) were able to throw out Edwards at the plate on a chopper to shortstop to keep the game tied, but it was a short-lived reprieve. LMU chased Gonzales the next inning with three consecutive hits to open the frame. Following an error on a sacrifice bunt that scored a run, Cheek drove in his second run of the game with a single to centerfield to make it 7-4.
The Lions took an early lead in their first at bat when Cheek singled home Colton Plaia. An errant pick-off attempt in the second inning allowed Loyola Marymount to go up 2-0 before Gonzales settled in.
With Colin Welmon on the mound, a 2-0 lead has almost been a guaranteed win for LMU this season. Welmon entered with a 0.63 ERA, but didn’t have his best stuff on Friday. Gonzaga hit a number of balls hard, getting to him for single runs in the fourth and fifth before chasing Welmon in the sixth inning after a walk and back-to-back two-out singles put the Bulldogs ahead.
The Bulldogs earned four runs against Welmon — one more than he had allowed in his first six starts combined. But the Lions offense bailed its ace out and Bret Dahlson, who has struggled at times in the closer role for the Lions this season, was spectacular to close the game out. Dahlson entered with two on and two out in the seventh and recorded a strikeout to end the inning. He pitched the final 2 1/3 innings without allowing a hit to earn his first win of the season.
Check out the 20-shot photo gallery from Thursday afternoon’s action: