PORTLAND, Ore. – Louie Lechich shrugged off a ninth-inning disaster on Saturday to lead San Diego to a West Coast Conference series victory over Portland on Sunday at Joe Ertz Field.
Lechich, in the game to close a 9-8 victory on Saturday, was one strike away from a save with no runners on. What followed was an NCAA-contender’s worst nightmare. Portland rallied for a 10-9 victory and the Pilots had an opportunity to win the series entering Sunday.
“It’s always tough coming to Portland. These guys always play great against us, no matter what type of year they’re having,” USD coach Rich Hill said. “They really play the game right. Yesterday it was two strikes, two outs, nobody on and they managed to find a way to scratch out two and get a W, so we have very much respect for Portland.”
Lechich and the Toreros had other plans for the series outcome.
The lanky left-hander allowed four hits and two runs in eight innings and the Toreros put up 14 hits to claim the series 13-2.
“We moved Louie back a day. He was scheduled to pitch Saturday, but we bumped him back a day and it didn’t work out too good,” Hill said. “For Louie to come back today and throw a four-hitter, that was awesome. And he just mixes. Nothing real overpowering, it’s changeup, fastball, curve — in and out, up and down.”
San Diego has a game on Tuesday at Oregon, so Lechich’s Sunday outing helped save the USD bullpen.
“Louie gave us an opportunity to rest guys like CJ Burdick, Ryan Olson, Josh Goossen-Brown will even be available again,” Hill said.
Lechich (7-1) is likely to play against Oregon, in centerfield, where he started Saturday and finished Sunday. He batted 2-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored in Saturday’s loss. He was 2-for-6 with two RBIs in Sunday’s victory.
“I don’t want him out of the lineup, I even put him in center after his outing,” Hill said. “He’s a valuable asset to this team, that’s for sure.”